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Bond Reduced for Ex-Deputy; New Charges Filed
Wed Feb 8, 2017 06:01

Bond reduced for ex-deputy; new charges filed
[Herald-Tribune staff photo / Rachel S. O'Hara]

Posted Feb 7, 2017 at 2:46 PM
Updated at 11:24 AM

By Carlos R. Munoz
Staff Writer

SARASOTA - New charges were filed Tuesday against a former Sarasota County Sheriff's deputy shortly after a hearing during which a judge drastically reduced his bond.

The new charges indicate that Frankie Bybee, 46, who has been a deputy in Sarasota for the past 18 years, was involved in an "illicit sexual relationship" with a woman who paid him more than $100,000 for performing sexual acts.

The woman contacted investigators on Jan. 27 while they were conducting a criminal investigation into the deputy accused of attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman he befriended while on duty. He is also charged with burglary, battery on a person over 65 years old, forging a public record and three counts of theft.

Sarasota County Judge Thomas Krug earlier Tuesday afternoon ordered that the bonds for attempted murder ($900,000) and theft ($25,000) for allegedly stealing the victim's dog and "rehoming" it with another Sheriff's deputy be reduced to $250,000 and $7,500, respectively.

His original bond total of $1,033,120 was set during his first appearance Jan. 23. The new total after the hearing was $365,120, but a few hours later new charges were added bumping the amount to $380,120.

Generally, the purchase price of a bond is 10% of the value.

Krug said he considered Bybee's length of time in the community, since 1996, flight risk, financial ability, threat to the community and lack of prior criminal history in his decision.

He made his decision after testimony from five witnesses, including three called by the defense and two detectives called by the prosecution.

Assistant State Attorney Karen Fraivillig said Bybee could not be trusted to obey the conditions of his release if he could not obey the directive from the Sheriff's Office ordering him to stay away from the 79-year-old victim.

"The defendant deliberately contacted (the victim), and there is no assurance court conditions to the defendant will be given any greater weight than his directive from the Sheriff's Office," Fraivillig said. "He tried to eliminate the victim by three methods: asphyxiation with a pillow, trying to force pills down her through, and asphyxiation by carbon monoxide."

Lawyer Charles Britt, the attorney for Bybee, said the Sheriff's Office already set a precedent when deputies began their investigation into the attack on Jan. 12 but waited until Jan. 23 to arrest the former deputy.

Britt said that the state's case might not be "everything it is cracked up to be."

Evidence collected by the Sheriff's Office revealed that emails containing suicide notes were delivered to the victim's primary care physician from the victim's email address as if it came from her on Dec. 28, 2016.

Medical staff alerted law enforcement after receiving the email, which responded and began an involuntary commitment of the elderly woman for evaluation. The victim later told detectives she never authored the email, and forensic analysis of the origin revealed they were sent from an IP address assigned to Bybee's home Wi-Fi network in Manatee County.

Detectives determined Bybee wrote that email, which led the victim to be committed under the Baker Act, the Sheriff's Office said.

The IP address provided by a forensic analyst at the bond hearing was not the same as the one Bybee's wife, Heike Bybee, gave to his defense attorney a day before the hearing. She said Tuesday during testimony that she got the IP using a borrowed laptop on their home network.

Mary Ann Dombro, an advocate who oversees the victim's medical treatment, was called by the defense to discuss the victim's reputation for honesty.

Dombro said she received a call from the elderly victim on the morning of Jan. 12 and asked her to "please, please, please come to her house and call 911," which Dombro said she did.

When the advocate heard the victim's story about the alleged attack, she said the details of the story did not match the scene she observed when she arrived.

Dombro said the victim's garage door was open and the kitchen door to the garage was closed. She did not smell carbon monoxide inside the home.

"She's a hard person to like," Dombro said. "She can be a bully.

"I did not believe her story."

Before her testimony began, Dombro had a sullen expression in the witness booth and told prosecutors she was not thrilled about being involved in the case.

Fraivillig said she had evidence Dombro's testimony could be biased. She read a statement to deputies the witness made the day of the incident: "He's a man of the law. Why don't you take care of your own."

Another witness, Philomena Pereira, said she has known the victim for 10 years from Woodland Community Church. She said they've often taken care of each other's families in the past.

Pereira said the victim has offered her money in the past, similar to alleged offerings Bybee was reported to have received from the victim. She said she did not accept them.

Pereira also said she did not want anything to do with this case and has not spoken or returned messages from the victim since Christmas and New Year's Day well wishes.

Fraivillig said that while Pereira claimed she wanted to remain neutral in the case, she called Bybee less than 30 minutes after being questioned about whether he did anything.

"He said no, and we moved on," Pereira said.

The defendant's attorney said the judge came to a "very just and reasonable solution."

While it is unusual to call witnesses in a bond hearing, Britt said the practice should be more common.

"In cases like this it's something that you should put on if the government is going to ask for such an outrageous bond for somebody," he said. "They should at least have to be held to some sort of standard and not just say we want a million dollars and the judge goes for that."

Britt said that while the state feels they have a strong case, a jury will make the final determination.

"It's not up to us," the attorney said.

Hours after the hearing the Sheriff's Office said it was contacted by two individuals who came forward during the criminal investigation. One woman stated she has been involved an in "illicit sexual relationship" with Bybee and that she paid him more than $100,000 for performing sexual acts. Those actions were found to violate the disciplinary standards set by the Sheriff's Office: conduct unbecoming and conformance with laws and moral character.

An online business owner from Kentucky said a CR-3000 car rotisserie and accessory brackets were sold to Bybee on Dec. 19, 2016, and that the former deputy used a victim's name, email address and PayPal account without her authorization to charge $1,080 on her credit card, the Sheriff's Office said.

The car parts were seized as evidence.

The Sheriff's Office also released surveillance video that the agency said shows Bybee made at least 12 unauthorized withdrawals from the woman's bank account from convenience, grocery and drug stores in Sarasota and Manatee counties. He denied having access to the victim's finances.

Ten counts of criminal use of personal identification and a single count of accessing a computer or electronic device without permission were added. An additional $5,500 bond was set.

Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Investigation

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casemundo Rank 0
The new PCA's are interesting. They paint a pretty good picture of what was going on.
4 hours ago (edited) 

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Craig S. Issod
Craig S. Issod Rank 0
Uh, just saying - why did this other woman pay him $100K for sexual acts?
This whole thing is SNAFU.
The jury can sweat the details, but the dude is on video 10 times using false ID, ATM cards, etc - what type of sentence does a normal offender get for that alone?

THe guy will probably get off and get hired somewhere else out-of-state. .
17 hours ago 

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Terry Lubkey
Terry Lubkey Rank 0
@Craig S. Issod... Maybe it was another 80yro woman and THAT would take a hundred grand to do!
13 hours ago 

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Gerard Davis
Gerard Davis Rank 0
now if he was black.....
18 hours ago 

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Kurt Nitsagen
Kurt Nitsagen Rank 0
Please do not imagine that you can smell carbon monoxide. You can certainly smell the exhaust of an engine,
and there is plenty of carbon monoxide in that exhaust, but carbon monoxide itself has no odor.
18 hours ago 

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Joseph Corlett
Joseph Corlett Rank 0
Who the hell does this judge think he is? The Sheriff has already ruled in this case. Let the Sheriff pronounce sentence and get on to the next one.
18 hours ago 

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T Cronin Moore
T Cronin Moore Rank 0
Why would bond be reduced for attempted murder, robbery, as well as stealing then giving away her beloved dog? How will citizens of Sarasota be in better shape with this guy out of jail pending trial?
23 hours ago 

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Joseph Corlett
Joseph Corlett Rank 0
@T Cronin Moore My point exactly. The Sheriff has already pronounced him guilty in the paper. To hell with all this "trial by jury of your peers" nonsense. What an antiquated concept.

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