In April 2011, 15 year old Seath Jackson was invited to a house by his former girlfriend under the guise of rekindling their relationship. Once the couple arrived at the house, though, it became quite clear that this invitation was a trap. Jackson was first beaten with lumber by a group of teens, and then shot multiple times. Upon discovery that Jackson was still alive, the group tied Jackson up and placed him into a bath tub, breaking his knees during the process so that he would fit into a bag. At that point, one of the teens then shot Jackson in the face, ultimately killing the 15 year old. Once the murder was committed, the teens burned Jackson’s body in a fire pit, shoveled his remains into 5 gallons buckets, and dumped the ashes into a local quarry.
Today, Circuit Judge David Eddy of Ocala, Florida sentenced Michael Bargo, the 21 year old mastermind behind this vicious crime, to death. In handing down the death sentence to Florida’s now youngest death row inmate of 404 total, Eddy stated, “I reference my experience to note this is the most cold calculated premeditated case of murder I have ever seen.” Judge Eddy has served as a judge in Florida for 32 years. The decision came after the jury overwhelmingly voted in favor of the death penalty by a tally of 10-2.
The state prosecutors had little trouble presenting evidence against Bargo due to hearing admissions and stories from his 4 accomplices. During the trial, the prosecution pointed toward the soured relationship between Bargo and Jackson as to the cause of the murder. Both Jackson and Bargo had dated Wright, the female who led Jackson to the house under false pretenses.
The case for the defense was much more difficult. Throughout the course of the proceedings, the defense offered three statutory mitigating factors: Bargo’s age, the fact that he did not understand the criminality of his actions, and that Bargo was under extreme mental duress at the time of his actions. Judge Eddy only gave weight to the first and last defenses offered, but reluctantly. Bargo displays signs of suffering from both partial complex seizure spectrum disorder and schizoaffective disorder, but Eddy ruled that neither illness was drastic enough to alter Bargo’s behavior to the extent of committing murder.
Throughout the ordeal, Bargo has maintained his innocence as to actually committing the murder; he has stuck with his story that he was not there at the time of Jackson’s death, but helped as an accomplice after the fact.
Bargo plans to appeal the ruling due to disagreements with the verdict and how his attorneys handled the case. Until that time, Bargo will have to deal with what he thinks is the worst aspect of this situation: “That’s what eats me up the most, I got all these people out there hating me.” Perhaps that time will be long enough for Bargo to finally understand the criminality of his actions.
[Image via YouTube]