A Golden Gate Estates man arrested earlier this yr in reference to the slayings of two brothers now faces costs of premeditated homicide, in line with a Collier County grand jury indictment.
Zachary Anderson, 25, initially confronted two fees of third-diploma homicide, however these have been upgraded to first-diploma homicide costs after Wednesday’s grand jury indictment.
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Anderson is accused of killing Thomas and Christopher Hunter in what Collier Sheriff’s Office detectives said was a drug deal. Detectives said Anderson wanted to buy Oxycodone from the brothers, court records state.
The brothers’ bodies were found in January inside a torched SUV at the end of 20th Avenue Northwest in Golden Gate Estates. The Collier County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the brothers had been shot fatally, court documents state.
Anderson was in custody at the Naples Jail Center on an unrelated probation violation charge when he was served with an arrest warrant in May in connection with the brothers’ slayings.
In Florida, first-degree murder cases must be presented to a grand jury.
The grand jury, consisting of 15 to 21 jurors, can return an indictment to a judge to elevate the charges. Grand jury indictments also are required for a trial of a person on a capital offense in Florida.
The State Attorney’s Office declined to comment on whether prosecutors will pursue the death penalty against Anderson.
Shannon McFee, Anderson’s attorney, said he could assume the state might pursue a capital case against his client.
McFee said Thursday afternoon that he was out of the country and had not yet reviewed the grand jury indictment.
“All I can communicate at this point is that it appeared (my client) got the indictment because of the capital nature of the allegations,” he said. “Our position is that they are just allegations.”
Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret and hear only the prosecution’s side of a case.
“No witnesses are subject to cross(-examination), there’s no challenging of evidence,” McFee said. “There’s no opportunity to defend yourself in a grand jury (proceeding), and we intend to defend to the fullest.”
McFee said that when the defense’s evidence is presented in court, “a different picture will certainly emerge.”
According to court records, a judge will review the indictment next week.
Anderson also faces charges of second-degree arson; robbery with a firearm, causing death or great bodily harm; shooting into an occupied vehicle; possession of a firearm, ammunition or concealed weapon by a convicted felon; and attempted purchase of a controlled substance.
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