Florida man who chopped up father's body and hid remains in golf course sentenced to 15 years in prison
A Florida man who was found guilty of dismembering his dead father has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Police first began suspecting 50-year-old James Scandirito from Fort Lauderdale, after he filed a missing person report in March 2018 stating that his dad, 74-year-old James "Skip" Scandirito Sr, might have drowned while kayaking, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Unconvinced by the report, deputies secretly followed him to the former Ocean Breeze Golf Club at 5800 NW Second Ave, and at around 3.30 am on April 4, 2018, watched him enter the property. Later the same day, they found the partial remains of his father in a makeshift grave that was four feet deep. The 75-year-old used to previously work in a pro shop at the same golf course, court records stated.
Scandirito was subsequently arrested trying to flee the country — he was reportedly found with a Brazilian passport on his person — and charged with first-degree murder as well as abuse of a dead human body, with prosecutors seeking the maximum possible sentence for the murder.
They argued that Scandirito, an only child, was in financial ruin and killed his father to take over his estate, pointing to how the 50-year-old had removed $1,476 from his dad's bank account soon after his passing on March 28 that year. They said he then started his "gruesome work" of carving up the elderly man's body and even tried to burn the body parts but failed.
During his testimony, Scandirito claimed his father had died from a fatal cocaine overdose at home but did admit he made the "stupid decision" to carve up the body and discard the arms, legs, and head in a construction trash bin.
His attorney, Elizabeth Ramsey, defended his actions and told the court her client had been affected by scandals that followed his dad, including how he was accused of offering to trade sexual favors for lenient sentences during his time as a district judge in Detroit in the 90s.
After an 11-day trial, a jury found Scandirito not guilty on the counts of first-degree murder, but guilty on the counts of abuse of a dead human body.
Ramsey called for a lenient sentence of not more than 21 months in prison, but prosecutor John Parnofiello asked for the maximum possible sentence as it's "truly an atrocious thing that he has done" which has had "significant and long-lasting emotional effects on the friends and family members of Skip Scandirito."
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes ultimately sided with the prosecution, imposing the maximum possible penalty under Florida law. He also imposed a separate fine of $10,000 on the 50-year-old.
"It makes it much more, I’ll use the word, despicable, that you would do that to your own father, and dismember someone who you had a close relationship with," he told Scandirito.
Parnofiello had also asked for the defendant to be fined $87,000 for the costs of an investigation by the Boca Raton Police Department, arguments for which Kastrenakes said he will hear on August 16.