MANATEE COUNTY - Nearly four years after brutally murdering Kathleen Briles inside her Terra Ceia home, Delmer Smith learned today that he will die as punishment for the crime.
Judge Peter Dubensky sentenced Smith to death by lethal injection after saying that his crime of murder was among the worst of the worst. It was a sentence Kathleen Briles' family has been waiting nearly four years to hear.
Despite facing the rest of his life on death row, Smith spoke out for the first time, still maintaining his innocence.
Shackled and emotionless, he stared straight ahead as he learned that he will die for taking the life of Briles. "I adjudicate Delmer Smith guilty of murder in the first-degree and sentence you to death in the manner proscribed by Florida law."
Facing death for his crimes, Smith spoke out, telling the court that he is innocent. “I’d like to sincerely express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Kathleen Briles and hope they gain closure through truth."
Words that Dr. James Briles, Kathleen's widower, doesn't believe for even a moment. “Any apology at this point is just a ruse or a lie to try and save his rotten hide."
Dr. Briles says in a case like this, death is the only way to fix the crime Smith committed. "Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their true selves. Well Delmer Smith's behavior shows us that he’s a sociopathic murderous pig."
Throughout the trial, Smith showed little remorse for his actions. His defense argued he suffered from brain injuries that compromised his ability to know right from wrong...something else Briles says just isn't true. "He robbed people of free will, he beat people of free will, and he murdered people of free will. He knew what he was doing was wrong. He tried to cover his tracks to make sure he was not found out. It was all from free will."
In the state of Florida, any death sentence is automatically reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. State attorneys told ABC 7 they were not surprised by the sentence.
Delmer Smith's attorney still maintains his client should receive life in prison instead of the death sentence.