Florida Keys

The victim was stabbed in the eyes and choked with wood. The suspect could get death

Mark Brann, 67, was brutally attacked in his home on 12th Street in Key West on Aug. 14.
Mark Brann, 67, was brutally attacked in his home on 12th Street in Key West on Aug. 14. Keynoter

A suspect charged with first-degree murder of a Key West business owner could face the death penalty if convicted of the brutal crime that included stabbing the victim in both eyes with a pen.

“I’m leaning in that direction,” said State Attorney Dennis Ward on Wednesday when asked if Justin Calhoun could face a punishment of death by lethal injection if first convicted of the murder.

calhoun, justin

A grand jury met Tuesday and indicted Calhoun, 24, who identifies as female, with first-degree murder of Mark Brann, 67, citing also the alleged use of a handgun during a robbery.

The indictment mentions the eye-stabbing and the allegation Calhoun jammed a broken piece of furniture down Brann’s throat.

Brann was attacked early Aug. 14 inside his 1206 12th Street home in New Town, where Calhoun said she often stayed. The two had been having a sexual relationship, she told police.

Calhoun admitted to the attack, saying it started when she accused Brann of being a cannibal and Brann grabbed a gun which went off during a struggle, according to detectives.

No one was shot, police said, but Calhoun then racked the pistol planning to shoot Brann with it but firearm jammed.

After stabbing Brann in the eyes, detectives said, she jammed a piece of wood down his throat and stomped on it, and then grabbed a dresser drawer and beat Brann about the head and throat with it.

“Calhoun admitted [she] went beyond self-defense,” wrote Detective Jeffrey Dean, in the arrest affidavit.

Brann died the next day, having suffered severe head injuries.

Calhoun is also charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, possession of cocaine and possession of hydrocodone.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen