Drug Dealer Gets 20 Years For Killing, Dismembering Partner
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A cocaine dealer pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years for shooting his partner, chopping up the body and dumping the parts in Tampa Bay.
Scott Bagley’s sentence on the reduced charge was of little comfort to the family of Robert Fernandez, whose head, arms, legs and hands surfaced within days of the killing. His torso was never found.
″He is a monster,″ said the victim’s father, Alarico Fernandez. ″This is a crime that deserves life in prison or the electric chair. If your son maybe gets killed in an accident, you don’t feel so frustrated. But when he’s cut into pieces? This is horrible.″
Prosecutor Karen Cox said she offered the plea bargain with the Fernandez family’s approval because the state had only circumstantial evidence against Bagley on first-degree murder charges.
No murder weapon was recovered and investigators couldn’t conclusively tie blood found in Bagley’s house to Fernandez, she said.
Prosecutors said a dispute over drugs led Bagley, 33, to kill Fernandez, 23, with a bullet to the forehead on Sept. 15, 1992. The two were in the cocaine business and Fernandez began using the drug, got into debt and feared Bagley would cut him out of the operation.
Bagley’s attorney, Julianne Holt, said she had planned to argue self defense if the case went to trial, since Fernandez also was armed the night of the slaying. Holt, however, refused to say why her client disposed of the body in such a grisly way.
Bagley, a former Marine who once applied to be a sheriff’s deputy, was arrested Feb. 3 and charged with first-degree murder after investigators tore his house apart looking for evidence.
His girlfriend, Candida Contreras, 27, was charged with being an accessory after the fact, accused of helping to clean up the blood-splattered house.
Contreras pleaded no contest to the charge in July and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 150 hours of community service.
As he walked out of court Friday, Fernandez’s father, a pediatrician, wondered what went wrong with his son, who was taking a year off from his pre- med studies at the University of Florida. The family has yet to have a funeral since his body parts are still in the custody of the FBI.
″He was a very good boy,″ Fernandez said. ″But he got out of my hands. ... He acquired the problem with the drugs, he used them and he got acquainted with this type of person. Even in a good family - these things can happen to anyone.″