[UPDATE] Oyola on Trial for Kidnapping, Murder in Monticello

UPDATED 10-25 By Candace Sweat

A judge handed down the ruling Monday morning to sentence Miguel Oyola to death for a murder he committed back in 2007.

Oyola is convicted in the stabbing death of 35 year old Michael Lee Gerrard.

Back on September 3rd, a jury voted 9 to 3 to recommend Oyola get the death penalty.

Wade says that the evidence in this case warranted today's outcome.

"This case was fairly brutal. One of the more brutal I've encountered in 30 years of prosecuting. What occured to the victim, brutal is about the only way I can put it," said Wade.

Wade says it could be years before this sentence is actually carried out.

None of Oyola's family was in court today. The victim's family has relocated out of state and was not in court this morning either.

Gerrard's best friend, Johnny Devine, said it has been a long and painful ride.

He said he talked with Gerrard's wife this morning and she told him that this was the first time she's been at peace since the murder.
[UPDATE] 10-25 10:45AM --

Miguel Oyola has been sentenced to death.

Stay with WCTV for details.


[UPDATE] 5:50 PM

"He was a person who had a heart of gold."

Brandy Gerrard stood in tears reading a personal statement about her husband, Michael Lee Gerrard. She urged the jury to give his killer life in prison instead of the death penalty.

But by a vote of 9 to 3, the jury voted to give Miguel Oyola the death penalty, something that surprised Gerrard's family.

"I was actually very shocked I personally, and I said this earlier, I don't personally believe in the death penalty but whatever they decide is whatever they decide and I'm fine with that, so I did not think they would, I honestly didn't,I honestly didn't think they'd come back with the death sentence," says Brandy.

The jury heard a testimony from Oyola's brother,who says Miguel's violent temperament is due to his abusive upbringing. He read a statement from their parents.

"Ask that they will find forgiveness and mercy as both families deal with this tragedy," says Manuel Oyola.

Brandy Gerrard turned down a plea deal on Thursday to try Oyola for second degree murder. She says she took the risk to wait for first degree murder charges because that's what her husband would have wanted.

The judge still has to accept the recommendation from the jury before proceeding forward with the case.

By a vote of 9 to 3, the jury has recommended that Miguel Oyola get the death penalty.

Oyola had been convicted of first degree murder for the stabbing death of Michael Lee Gerrard.

Gerrard's wife had urged the jury to give Oyola life in prison.

We'll bring you more details as they become available.

After nearly two hours of deliberation, a jury found 40 year old Miguel Oyola guilty of first degree murder of Michael Lee Gerrard.

Oyola was indicted and charged with Gerrard's murder on October 2nd, 2008. Gerrard was stabbed to death and his body was found in a wooded area near the Jefferson County, Leon County line.

Closing arguments got underway Monday morning and prosecutors say Oyola didn't just premeditate the murder,but that it was done with extreme violence.

"He is guilty of nothing less than first degree murder, nothing less than first degree murder. He deliberately killed Michael Lee Gerrard, deliberately, not one but two ways. Repeated blows, repeated stabbing, a murder that transpired over a period of time. You know he meant to accomplish what he had done," says Neill Wade.

Oyola's defense attorney claims that much of the prosecutor's case was speculation, and that it was a crime committed in the heat of passion.

"There was an unlawful killing of Michael Lee Gerrard, by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind, without the regard to human life. That's the perfect definition of someone with a depraved mind, not first degree murder," says Gregory Cummings.

Oyola was also found guilty of armed robbery, and grand theft.

At this point prosecutors say robbery was the motive behind the murder. Gerrard withdrew 900 dollars from his account before he was killed and when his body was found, the money was not on him.

Witnesses say Oyola claims Gerrard tried to put between 600 and 800 dollars in his mailbox as a Christmas bonus.

The penalty phase of the trial gets underway Friday morning. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

[UPDATE] 2:00PM by Stephanie Salvatore

After nearly two hours of deliberation, the jury finds Miguel Oyola guilty of first degree murder in the death of Michael Lee Gerrard.

[UPDATE] 5:40 PM by Stephanie Salvatore

Several witnesses took the stand describing the time surrounding Michael Lee Gerrard's death back in December 2007. One of his employees Miguel Oyola is charged with Gerrard's murder, along with robbery, kidnapping and grand theft auto.

Witnesses say Oyola called in sick from work the day Gerrard was killed. Gerrard's wife says Oyola days later, after she was notified of her husband's death, and says his demeanor was calm.

"He was dressed up nice, and he just said he was sorry," says Brandy Gerrard.

One of the witnesses called was a fellow inmate of Oyola's at the Lake Butler Correctional Institution, he says Gerrard described in detail the crime he had just committed.

"He told me that Gerrard was a guy he killed," says James Hendrith.
(Prosecutor: Did he say how he killed him?)
"He stabbed him."
(Did he say whether or not he hit him with something?)
"Yes sir, he said he hit him a couple times with a shovel," replies Hendrith.

Deputies say the shovel, along with pieces of Gerrard's cell phone and a bloody floor mat belonging to Gerrard's truck were found in the vicinity of Oyola's home near Tram Road. DNA found on the items was examined.

"Assuming two donors to the mixture, a major contributor matches the DNA of Michael Gerrard and Oyola is included as a minor contributor to the profile," says Felicia Hickman, a DNA analyst.

The state and defense have both rested. Oyola was expected to take the stand but has decided he will not. Closing arguments begin Monday.
A man is now on trial for the murder of a Tallahassee business owner.

35 year old Michael Lee Gerard was stabbed to death back in December 2007. A logger discovered his body deep in the woods off Tram Road in Jefferson County.

Thursday, his accused killer went on trial in Monticello. The jury began hearing evidence in the case against Miguel Oyola this morning.

He's facing robbery, kidnapping and murder charges and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

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  • by oyola on Jan 28, 2012 at 09:55 PM
    im sorry for dis familys lost da last time i remember my uncle he was a pieceful man so sorry that dis story ended n such tragity
  • by jannette Location: uk on Nov 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM
    the person called james who told my daughter chloe that 2 wrongs dont make a right and she should not wish someone dead must have no one that he cares for enough to feel the way my daughter feels only comment on this if you have been through this yourself you obviosly have no idea what it feels like to have someone close taken away by someone for no reason. you really DONT understand the pain
  • by say what?? on Oct 25, 2010 at 02:36 PM
    James - if you knew what he did, the actual acts that he took to kill this man, you might think differently. Not only did he stab him but he tried to burn him up while he was still alive. Take him out back and shoot him right between the eyes.
  • by pat Location: uk on Oct 25, 2010 at 02:02 PM
    people who may place derogatry comments on the death penalty ,obviously have never suffered the pain of loosing a son at the hands of somone whos only interest was to rob and kidnap and murder ,so comment again if u are unfortunate enough to suffer the pain we are suffering ,micheal lees mum
  • by len on Oct 25, 2010 at 01:48 PM
    lisa -- I would be glad to pull the switch for you guys ....this thug needs be go in the morning,,,no wait time
  • by Brenda Location: Tallahassee on Oct 25, 2010 at 01:45 PM
    My dear loved ones in Blackpool. It is finally done... I sincerely hope that Mike, Pat, Lisa and all the other family and friends of Lee's can now move on. Death isn't good enough for Oyola. We now know he can't appeal, he can't get out of jail ever and his end will come not of natural causes...but as punishment. RIP Lee, love you.
  • by lisa Location: uk on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:25 PM
    as micheal lee gerrard's sister i think i have the right to wish this evil scum dead!! my only hope is i get to look in his eyes when the day arrives, he has totally destroyed our family and yes that animal may also have a family but then they can share in the guilt of allowing such scum to walk the earth! thankyou so much to judge smith who didnt overturn the decision today and to sheriff hobbs & all the detectives that dealt with my brothers case. hope you can now rest in peace bro knowing he will suffer like we do! love you always x
  • by jannette Location: england on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM
    i just hope they put him to death sooner rather than later. My sister has been through enough. the sooner he dies for what he has done the better. we will never forgive him. .R.I.P lee x x x
  • by Renee Location: Florida on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:17 PM
    As I look around I realize that the United States is not as civilized as stated. Some of the people cry for the death penalty. The death penalty is not sought on a equal basis. If the victim is a person that has never been known to do anything wrong, then the death penalty is sought. Many may want to say this is not true, but the Death Penalty is sought on cases that involve the harming of people from a different race (mainly) Caucasian but not when the same race kill each other. If we study the history of Florida and the death penalty, you will find that the sentence is has been awarded in cases that are less violent than other crimes. How many innocent people have the State of Florida put to death in the history of capital punishment? Research this issue and you will realize the death penalty is not given on a fair basis but other mitigating factors.
  • by 2 Hawks Location: Monticello on Oct 25, 2010 at 12:10 PM
    He got death for the murder charge, life for the armed robbery with a deadly weapon, five years for the false imprisonment and five years for the grand theft charge, all to be served consecutively. Yeah for the good guys!
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