New details: Prosecutors say man committed Milton double-murder for pain pills
SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) —
New details came out Wednesday in the double-murder trial of Derrick Thompson. He faces the death penalty for the deaths of Steven and Debra Zackowski in July of 2014. Prosecutors said they were murdered for pain pills.
The couple was building a new house in Milton. Prosecutors said Thompson was their electrician and they paid him in pain pills.
Assistant State Attorney John Molchan said, "He would do electrical work and would get pills, oxycodone. That's what was going on between those two individuals."
There was a disagreement over the number of pain pills he was being given for his work. Thompson was supposed to get 10 but instead was given five. The State Attorney's Office said Thompson bought a gun on a Friday and then went to their home and shot both of them in the head the next day.
They said the motive was to steal pain pills out of their safe. Prosecutors said he admitted to this early in the investigation.
Molchan said, "The defendant says, 'I got the pills and then I shot her.'"
They said Thompson fled and was later found in rural Alabama at a hunting camp. Investigators found the murder weapon with him.
Molchan said, "Both gunshot wounds are evidence in and of itself of killing after consciously deciding to do so. You will hear from the medical examiner, wounds were done at very close range. "
Despite admitting to the murder, Thompson later pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is charged with first-degree murder and faces the death penalty.
Thompson's defense attorney, Bryan David McLeod, feels he deserves a lesser charge because it was not premeditated.
McLeod said, "You will see this crime scene is chaotic, not organized, not anything that would suggest any plan in place, any premeditation of either killing or robbery."
The defense is asking the jury to consider second-degree murder or manslaughter. The state feels it was premeditated and it is first-degree felony murder.
This is a big deal because a lesser charge would remove the death penalty as a sentence.
The trial is expected to last two days.
Thompson is also accused of killing Allen Johnson in Bay County. He will face that charge after his trial in Santa Rosa County.