OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Testimony got underway on Monday in the trial of a Celebration man accused of killing his wife, three children and the family’s dog.
What You Need To Know
- Testimony in Anthony Todt’s murder trial got underway after opening statement
- A jury was seated last week
- Todt has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of his wife, three children and family dog
After a brief opening statement the state is now calling witnesses.— Jeff Allen (@News13JeffAllen) April 11, 2022
1st witness - Sergio Montanez - a 911 dispatcher who took a call from Todt’s sister who asked for a welfare check on family after they couldn’t be reached in January 2020.
@MyNews13 #AnthonyTodt pic.twitter.com/EmJRvU8Q5u
Anthony Todt, 46, has pleaded not guilty, and he is facing life in prison.
After a brief opening statement, the state called several law enforcement officers to the stand.
Some of them described the gruesome scene at Todt’s home in Celebration, where they found his family dead back in January 2020.
Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell said Todt told a detective he suffocated and stabbed his children Alek, 13; Tyler, 11; Zoe, 4; and suffocated his 42-year-old wife, Megan Todt, and the family’s dog, Breezy.
The jurors first heard from 911 dispatchers who took calls from Todt’s family in Connecticut. The family had asked for a welfare check on Todt’s family at their home after they stopped being able to reach them over the holidays.
The jury saw body cam video from law enforcement officers who went into the family’s home and discovered the family dead.
Federal agents were investigating Todt for health care fraud in the weeks leading up to the killings.
One of those special agents described Todt’s demeanor when authorities got inside the home on the 200 block of Reserve Place.
“Yes, some of the things he was saying weren’t coming out clearly; you could not decipher them,” described U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agent Michael Phelps.
Court records show Todt confessed three different times to killing his family, but Judge Keith Carsten has excluded the initial confession from evidence because he said Todt was not read his Miranda rights.
Todt’s defense tried to get all of those confessions excluded because they said Todt was suicidal and under the influence of an overdose of Benadryl.
Investigators said they found a large number of Benadryl bottles at the family’s home. The crime scene supervisor also said autopsies revealed Todt's wife and kids had toxic levels of the drug in their systems.
Todt’s defense attorneys did not give an opening statement. It is expected that could come when they begin calling their witnesses after the prosecution wraps up its case.
The state is expected to call several more witnesses Monday afternoon.
Last week, a jury of 12 was seated for the trial.
“Your lifetime of experiences unique to you probably colored the way that you have decided how the world works and how you interact with other fellow citizens here on planet Earth,” Carsten said to those who will decide Todt’s fate.
Todt could be sentenced to life behind bars.
Carsten told the jurors that Todt is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“Please remember whose burden it is to prove the allegations against Mr. Todt, and please understand that Mr. Todt has absolutely no obligation to prove anything whatsoever,” Carsten advised the jury.