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Marty Puccio (34), Derek Dzvirko (34), and 5 others ("The Broward County 7"), were convicted in the death of a high school bully
Published: Dec 04, 2007 @ 10:36 PM
Marty Puccio (34)
Jul 15, 1993
Stabbing and Beating
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Derek Dzvirko (34)
Jul 15, 1993
2nd degree murder
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Bobby Kent was, by many accounts, a popular athletic boy. He earned a decent grade point average in school and played sports. Bobby was charming to those around him and naturally attracted attention. His parents, Fred and Farah Kent, had high aspirations for him. Fred was self-employed as a stockbroker, and believed that the true American Dream was for one to be their own master, something he wanted for his son. He had plans to set Bobby up running his own business once he graduated from college. Bobby, who was an avid car stereo enthusiast and had his own vehicle sound system that was worth several thousand dollars, had told his father that was the type of business he would like to get into.
He was described by Broward County prosecutor Tim Donnelly, who tried all the conspirators for his murder as "Very Eddie Haskell like. Adults saw him one way (polite and charming) while the kids saw him in a completely different light."
Kent and Puccio had known each other since third grade, had lived on the same block in Broward County since that time, and were good friends as adults. Bad blood, however, existed between the two. Puccio felt "ill-will and hatred" towards Kent because Kent would bully and pummel him. Both sets of parents were wary of the friendship as well. Marty's parents, Martin Sr. and Veronica Puccio, were cautious because Marty often returned from being with Bobby with bruises or bleeding. Fred Kent thought of Marty as a wayward slacker who had no future (Marty was a high school dropout) and felt the friendship with his son would destroy the future he was helping Bobby build. Both boys were avid steroid users which, according to testimonial accounts, significantly contributed to Kent's erratic aggressive behavior.
Kent and Puccio had also delved into making homosexual porn movies in the hopes they could sell them to local shops to earn extra money. Neither Kent nor Puccio actually participated in these movies, but rather allegedly directed them and either coaxed or forced Lawrence Shafer, a Florida man in his early 40's to commit lewd acts on camera. Kent tried to peddle the movie, entitled Rough Boys, to porn shops across south Florida. However, none took him up on the offer due to the poor audio and video quality as well as the lack of any sellable sexual activities in the film beyond Shafer dancing nude and playing with a dildo.
For a few weeks prior to his death, Kent dated Alice Jean Slay (Ali Willis), best friend of Puccio's girlfriend, Lisa Connelly. Willis moved back with her parents in Palm Bay, Florida, and broke up with him after Kent allegedly forced Willis to watch a graphic homosexual porn movie while he had rough sexual intercourse with her. Kent reportedly said he was going to murder her and smother her baby unless she returned to Broward County to date him. Willis returned and she and Connelly concocted a plan to kill Kent. The girls obtained a gun (Connelly's mother's gun which Lisa stole from her for that night) and lured Kent to a rock pit in west Broward but backed out at the last minute.
The plan was for Willis to seduce Kent and begin having sex with him. While this was happening, Connelly would sneak up behind Kent and shoot him. Connelly allegedly later said that she did not shoot Kent because the police can trace bullet fragments to the gun they originally came from.
The next day, July 15, 1993, a wider circle of friends conspired to kill Kent, including the newly recruited Derek Kaufman who the group heard through friends was a gang leader and mafia hitman. Prior to meeting the group, Kaufman had no association with Kent, Puccio or any other member. The group again lured Kent to the rock pit in an undeveloped area in Western Broward County, Florida (at the time in the early stages of being developed as a subdivision), which is now the neighborhood of Weston.
Puccio had told Kent that they were going to race cars (specifically Willis' high-powered 5.0 Ford Mustang) and that Willis wanted to have sex with him again. That night, despite blistering Florida summer heat and humidity, Puccio was dressed in black jeans and a black trenchcoat with a red bandana tied around his head. According to Willis, "Marty came out of (his) house looking like Rambo."
Sometime around midnight, Willis led Kent away from the group down by a canal that ran up against the area. Heather Swallers then was instructed by Derek Kaufman to join them and figure out if Kent suspected anything. If she felt he didn't, Kaufman told her to ask Kent if there were any alligators in the canal. Once she did that, the murder would commence. Swallers asked Kent if the canal had any alligators and Kent sarcastically told her she should go skinny dipping and find out for herself.
Almost immediately after, Donny Semenec charged Kent and stabbed him from behind in his neck. Kent whirled around and called out to Puccio for help. Puccio then stabbed him in the abdomen, and when Kent tried to flee, Semenec, Kaufman, and Puccio tackled him and stabbed and beat him. Several times during the murder, Kent pleaded and begged Puccio for mercy, telling his friend "I'm sorry! Marty, whatever I did, I'm sorry!" but Puccio continued. While Kent was down, Puccio cut his throat and hit his head against the ground so hard he fractured a vertebra in Kent's neck.
Kaufman delivered the final blow with a weighted baseball bat to the head. Kent's body was then dumped into a canal; however, there are conflicting reports over who did it, either Kaufman and Derek Dzvirko (Lisa's cousin who was also along) or Kaufman and Puccio.
Dzvirko was also the one who led Detective Frank Illaraza of the Broward Sheriff's Office to Kent's body a few days later.
Bobby Kent on Wikipedia
The Broward County 7
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