Miami- A Florida jury recommended the death penalty for a man who in 2018 committed a “horrific” sexual assault and murder of a woman in Marathon Key, one of the keys in the south of the state, the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed this Thursday in a statement ,
Steven Matthew Wolf, 58, was charged with the murder of Michelle Rena Osborne, 51, who was found dead in a wooded area near the Vaca Cut Bridge, in Marathon Key, on November 21, 2018, and is now facing the capital punishment, a decision that is only reached in Florida by a unanimous jury.
“Wolf conducted a gruesome sexual assault with a large object (with which he raped her) resulting in blunt force trauma and killing a Marathon woman,” state Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement.RELATED
“Due to several aggravating factors, including the heinous nature of the crime and a prior violent felony conviction of manslaughter 40 years earlier, Wolf now faces the death penalty.”
According to the investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, local fishermen found Osborne’s body in a remote area.
During the investigation, detectives found parts of a car belonging to Wolf’s truck near the victim’s body.
“The investigation found that Wolf used a large object to penetrate the victim’s genitalia, causing blunt force trauma, and strangled the woman before dumping the body,” the statement said.
In 2019, the Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office brought the case before a grand jury, which in turn found sufficient evidence to indict Wolf on first-degree murder charges.
State prosecutors then advised the court of their intention to seek the death penalty for Wolf if convicted, news outlet keywest.com reported last year following a postponement of the trial due to possible court closures with the arrival of the Hurricane Ian.
“We decided to seek the death penalty because of the brutal and vicious manner in which this defendant killed this poor woman,” State Attorney Dennis Ward said at the time after the grand jury indictment.
On Wednesday, a jury recommended the death penalty for Wolf.
“We achieved a unanimous recommendation for the death penalty for a vicious murderer who horribly murdered a Florida woman,” Moody said in today’s statement.
Florida’s attorney general thanked the jury “for coming to this difficult trial, weighing the evidence presented by state attorneys, and taking the heavy responsibility of a case like this,” she said.
Of the roughly 300 inmates on Florida’s death row, only two are for crimes committed in Monroe County, according to keynews.com.
In 2017, the then governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed a law that harmonizes the state’s legislation with the ruling of the US Supreme Court that considers it “unconstitutional” to sentence death by simple majority and requires unanimity of the jury , a measure that the current governor, Ron DeSantis, has said he wants to reverse.