Lawyer: Confession in family slayings illegally obtained
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The defense attorneys for a Connecticut physical therapist accused of killing his wife and their three children at their home in central Florida want his initial confession excluded from his trial.
Anthony Todt talked to detectives when he was arrested at the hospital following the January 2020 killings. But they didn’t properly inform him of his Miranda rights before the interview, Assistant Public Defender Peter Schmer said in an Aug. 31 motion.
The motion also said that Todt, 45, was also “suicidal” and had diminished capacity because he was under the influence of a Benadryl overdose, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Schmer said the combination of factors led to an invalid waiver of Todt’s rights.
Todt is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty in the killings of Megan Todt, 42, and their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4. The family’s dog Breezy was also killed. He worked in Connecticut and spent weekends in Florida with his family.
Todt pleaded not guilty.
Federal authorities and Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies found the victims on Jan. 13, 2020, when they went to the home in Celebration, near Walt Disney World, to arrest Todt on insurance fraud charges related to his physical therapy business.
The victims were wrapped in blankets and had stab wounds and toxic amounts of Benadryl in their bodies, according to autopsy reports.
Schmer contends in the motion that Osceola Sheriff’s detectives Cole Miller and Ryan Quinn recited an “incomplete” Miranda warning when they interviewed Todt.
During the initial interview, Todt told detectives that his “head’s spinning a little.” He also said “... I’m foggy. I’m in a fog right now,” the motion said.
Following the first confession, the detectives interrogated Todt two more times and read him the full Miranda warning before Todt repeated his involvement in their deaths, the motion said.
Todt has since blamed his wife for the slayings in jailhouse writings.
Schmer argued Todt’s emotional state made him “unable to execute a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights.”
A Sept. 20 hearing is scheduled to determine whether Todt’s confession should be excluded from his trial, which is set to begin Sept. 27.