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Former Deputy Frank Bybee Faces Additional Charges
Tue Sep 26, 2017 02:52

Former deputy Frank Bybee faces additional charges

Former Sarasota County sheriff’s Deputy Frank Eugene Bybee, 46, an 18-year employee of the Sheriff’s Office, is charged with attempted murder, burglary, exploitation of the elderly, two counts of grand theft, forgery, petit theft, and battery of a person over 65. He is scheduled to go on trial next week. [HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2017]

By Carlos R. Munoz
Staff Writer

Posted Sep 21, 2017 at 5:32 PM
Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 5:32 PM

Former Sarasota County sheriff’s deputy charged with 18 felonies, including attempted murder

SARASOTA — Former Sarasota County sheriff’s deputy Frank Bybee, whose trial for allegedly breaking into a 79-year-old woman’s house and trying to kill her begins next week, is facing an additional charge of kidnapping, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The warrant was served Wednesday at the Sarasota County Jail where the former deputy has been held since he was arrested Jan. 23. He is charged with 18 felonies, including attempted murder, exploitation of the elderly, burglary and theft.

No bond has been set on the kidnapping charge. Bybee’s current bond total is $380,120.

Assistant State Attorney Karen Fraivillig confirmed the charge was filed.

According to previously filed court documents, Bybee met the conditions of a kidnapping charge when he allegedly sent a fraudulent email from the 79-year-old victim’s email account to her doctor stating that she was going to kill herself. The doctor, who was out of town, received the email and, believing the patient was threatening suicide, acted based on the email.

The patient was involuntarily committed to a mental health hospital in Charlotte County under the Baker Act for two weeks, from Dec. 29 to Jan. 11.

Based on those elements, Bybee, who had no authority to send the email, had allegedly facilitated her kidnapping.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Bybee befriended the elderly woman after she called the Sheriff’s Office for help on Oct. 21. The patrol deputy transferred her to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he prayed with her before he left, the investigation found.

About two months later, the woman reported that Bybee had inserted himself into her personal life and had become too controlling. She asked the Sheriff’s Office for help severing the relationship with the deputy.

Bybee was placed on administrative leave Jan. 9 and three days later, according to court documents, returned to the woman’s home and attempted to kill her. His employment was terminated Jan. 31 after enough information was found to sustain allegations of conduct unbecoming and conformance with laws, on top of criminal charges, an internal affairs investigation found.

Trial begins

Jury selection in the case, which was delayed by 20 days, begins Monday and is expected to last two days.

The trial was delayed after Bybee’s attorney was allowed to withdraw from the case and former Manatee County Judge John Lakin joined his defense team. Lakin joins attorney Ronald Kurpiers as co-counsel.

Judge Thomas H. Krug recused himself Aug. 16 because Lakin is being investigated by the Florida Bar for actions taken while he was on the bench. A letter from Chief Judge Charles E. Williams to the Florida Supreme Court stated “in an abundance of caution, I feel that no other 12th Circuit judge should be assigned this case.”

The Florida Supreme Court assigned Charlotte County Circuit Judge Donald H. Mason to the case two days later.

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