A man charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder of a Florida State University student in 2010 was found guilty late Tuesday of both counts.
I n less than three hours, the jury convicted Quentin Truehill, 26, the first to stand trial, of the first degree murder and kidnapping of FSU grad student Vincent Binder.
"We're just happy. This was a long time coming, about four years in the process,” said Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson, who was present in the courtroom. “The victim’s family is very happy. Of course, this is just the first step in the process.”
Truehill, Peter Hughes, 26, and Kentrell Johnson, 43, (pictured at bottom of story) were jail escapees from Louisiana.
Binder (pictured below) was abducted in Tallahassee and his body was dumped along State Road 16 in St. Augustine.
Binder’s family members were in the courtroom as the verdict was read. Still shaken from the verdict, they, as well a man from the defendant’s family, declined to speak with the media.
At the end, the judge told the jury he'd see them in court again next month, when they will either sentence Truehill to life in prison or death. For the prosecutors in this case, it's a justified ending to what they called a long, complicated case.
"Obviously a case of this magnitude, that extends from Louisiana to Miami, Florida, just the discovery process, collecting all of the evidence. Making sure that we had everything in order. That took quite a while,” said Johnson. “But we got it all together. We're just happy that we were able to present a case to this jury and that they reached the appropriate verdict."
The trial began Feb. 3. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
After friends reported Binder missing on April 8, 2010, the Tallahassee Police Department said it began reviewing Binder's phone and financial information. The review led investigators to Miami.
Tallahassee police said they were notified by the South Florida U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force that it had located a stolen pickup truck believed to be used by three prison escapees from Louisiana. Investigators linked the three fugitives to Tallahassee and possibly to the disappearance of Binder.
U.S. marshals apprehended the fugitives on April 12, 2010.
Investigators said they later received information from one of the fugitives that further linked them to Binder's disappearance.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents searching for evidence in conjunction with the case found Binder's body in a field near the intersection of Interstate 95 and State Road 16.
The FDLE did not release the specific cause of death.