Jurors spared Coy J. Evans' life Friday night.
And that decision may have hinged partly on a talk between Evans
and his son about the birds and the bees.
After deliberating 1½ hours, jurors recommended a sentence of
life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, instead of the
On Wednesday, they had convicted him of first-degree murder and
other charges in connection with the shooting death of Tallahassee
Police Department Sgt. Dale Green in November 2002. The 13-year TPD
veteran had arrived to help two women who reported a home-invasion
robbery of their Melody Circle duplex.
In a surprise move after the jury left the courtroom, the
34-year-old Evans stood up and turned toward Deb Green, the
"I'm sorry," he said, in a voice that could barely be heard. "I
feel grief every day." Green, stone-faced, looked directly at Evans
but did not respond.
While it is not binding on him, Circuit Judge Tom Bateman must
give the recommendation "great weight and deference," according to
state law. He set a formal sentencing hearing for Oct. 4.
Evans' mother, Melanie Campbell Evans, and his sisters sat in the
front row crying and holding each other. They said nothing as they
left the courtroom; one defense attorney grabbed the mother's hand
and pulled her past a waiting news camera.
Evans' lead attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ines Suber,
declined to be interviewed.
State Attorney Willie Meggs, who had sought a death sentence,
said he was disappointed. "But that's our system, and we have to
accept the jury's decision," he added.
Family members pleaded for Evans' life Friday and experts
continued to explain his struggle with cocaine addiction and
But what may have swayed jurors were tape-recorded phone
conversations Evans had with his two sons while he was awaiting
trial in the Leon County Jail. All inmates are on notice that phone
calls other than to attorneys may be monitored or taped for security
Suber first called Angela Brown, the boys' mother, to the stand.
Brown is now married to someone else, but Evans is still close to
the boys, she said.
"They told me they did not want their father to die," Brown said,
In one of the talks, Evans was telling his 13-year-old son that
he could like girls but was too young for sex.
"There's touching, but it's more than just that," he said. "You
need to be confident with yourself."
In another, Evans asked about his 11-year-old son's grades and
how he was doing in sports. Some jurors held their heads in both
hands as they listened.
The jury's foreman did not return a call late Friday.
"It's almost like he was a monster," Suber told the jurors,
mentioning previous testimony about how Evans shot and killed Green
during the robbery.
She decided "only by knowing him ... would you be able to decide
whether you want that human being to be killed by the state."
Evans, on trial since Aug. 30, was convicted of murder, burglary,
armed kidnapping, armed robbery, and fleeing and eluding law
enforcement in Green's shooting death Nov. 13, 2002.
Evidence showed every bullet in Evans' six-shot .357-caliber
revolver was fired in about two seconds. One bullet grazed Green's
uniform sleeve, and the other five struck his body, including a
fatal shot to the back of the head.