Two Florida men will spend the rest of their lives in prison after both were found guilty of child pornography charges in two separate cases.
“They will never again roam free throughout society,” said Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
Last week, a Martin County judge sentenced 71-year-old Thomas Coniglio to 111 years on each of the 100 felony counts he was charged with for possessing images of children engaging in sex.
The Judge called Coniglio a danger to society, deputies say.
In a separate case, 35-year-old Joseph Henderson was also sentenced to 111 years for possessing child pornography.
“Detectives with our Criminal Investigations Special Victim’s Unit work tirelessly to retrieve the disturbing images off of the suspect’s computer devices,” said MCSO in a Facebook post. “A painstaking job that is critical to the successful prosecution and sentencing of these criminals. The images retrieved from these computers depict children from infancy to 12 years old being victimized as they are engaging in sexual activity.”
Florida Gov. DeSantis Backs Death Penalty In Child Rape Cases
Gov. Ron DeSantis, in May, signed a bill that would allow the death penalty for people who commit sexual battery on children under age 12.
The bill (HB 1297) conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court precedents that have barred death sentences for rapists, including a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
But DeSantis and legislative supporters of the bill have been upfront about challenging the rulings, with DeSantis’ office saying in a news release Monday that he is “prepared to take this law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule judicial precedents which have unjustly shielded child rapists from the death penalty and denied victims and their loved ones the opportunity to pursue ultimate justice against these most heinous criminals.”
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In April the FLorida Senate voted 34-5 to pass the bill, which had earlier been approved 95-14 in the House.
“In Florida, we stand for the protection of children,” DeSantis said during a bill-signing event Monday in Brevard County. “Unfortunately, in our society, we have very heinous sex crimes that are committed against children under the age of 12 years old. These are really the worst of the worst. The perpetrators of these crimes are often serial offenders.”
Under the bill, defendants could receive death sentences based on the recommendations of at least eight of 12 jurors. Judges would have discretion to impose the death penalty or sentence defendants to life in prison. If fewer than eight jurors recommend death, defendants would receive life sentences.
The bill would affect what is known as the “sentencing phase” of cases.
Juries would still need to unanimously find defendants guilty of the crimes before the sentencing phase would begin.
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