LEE COUNTY: A pretrial hearing was held for a man facing the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of killing a 17-year-old girl. Joshua Henninger and Jeremy Chapman are accused of killing Annamarie Randazzo. Her body was found in an old refrigerator in August of 2005.
While Joshua Henninger was the only one in court on Thursday, he and Jeremy Chapman are both accused of the crime and both are said to have confessed. Many issues regarding the murder case were discussed on Thursday. Still, most of the pretrial hearing was focused on Chapman who is also accused of killing his roommate John Hardin.
His lawyers want a positron emission tomography scan, or PET scan, on him in order to evaluate his brain behavior. Chapman’s lawyer, David Brener, called Forensic Psychologist Doctor Frederick Schaerf into the courtroom so he could convince the judge that Chapman actually needs the PET scan. “This is not just a screening test, there are signals that we talked about at least three or four that are going to give us a probable high yield that he has a very abnormal PET scan,” said Schaerf.
The judge decided the PET scan, which measures brain activity and behavior, should be performed. Chapman and Henninger are charged with brutally beating Annamarie Randazzo, setting her body on fire, and dumping her inside an abandoned fridge in Lehigh Acres. Judge Thomas Reese was presiding on Thursday. He scheduled a pretrial conference right after the first of the year.
Prosecutors did not want to talk about the case. But Brener was asked if the PET scan is a hint that an insanity defense could be used. “We are not. We are not. We are preparing to present evidence in mitigation should Mr. Chapman be convinced of these homicides,” said Brener. According to the medical examiner’s autopsy report, Randazzo had no sign of drugs in her body when she died. But when both Chapman and Henninger supposedly confessed to her murder, they said she overdosed on cocaine. Brener did not want to talk about the autopsy report. “I just got that report yesterday and I’m not going to comment,” said Brener.
Henninger is not facing the death penalty because he was a juvenile when he was charged with the crime. Both he and Chapman will be tried separately for Randazzo’s murder. Chapman will also be tried for Hardin’s murder.
Judge Reese says he hopes to get the trials underway by September of next year.