Assistant State Attorney Kristie Ducharme secured a conviction in March when jurors found a 30-year-old Auburndale man guilty of fatally shooting a man during a home invasion robbery.
Andre Warner, one of four co-defendants in the case, now faces the death penalty for shooting and killing Adam Hilarie in 2016.
A new 12-person jury will be chosen in the coming months to decide whether to recommend a death sentence for Warner. Circuit Judge Jalal Harb dismissed the initial jury because of delays due to the coronavirus. Harb will make the final decision if jurors recommend Warner be sentenced to death.
After a three-week trial, jurors deliberated three hours before reaching a guilty verdict. Warner was convicted of first degree murder, robbery with a firearm, burglary to a dwelling with a weapon, and conspiracy armed robbery with a firearm.
Ducharme said in her closing arguments that jurors had received substantial evidence to convict Warner.
“Ask yourself one question: if you have any reasonable doubt in your minds that Andre Warner is not the one responsible for robbing and murder Adam,” Ducharme said. “I’m confident based on the evidence that the answer to that question is no.”
The trial received national attention.
The victim met Hailey Bustos through a dating website, then went on a date with her on Aug. 19, 2016. After their date, Bustos, Warner and other co-defendants went to the victim’s apartment to rob him. During testimony, Bustos said Warner fired a single gunshot into the back of the victim’s head.
Ducharme said the victim, the father of a 5-year-old girl, begged for his life because he had a daughter.
“The fear [he] must have felt in that moment,” Ducharme said. Ducharme had said that when Warner and co-defendants returned to the car, they were laughing that the victim had begged for his life.
State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Ducharme and the Auburndale Police Department for their work on the case.