Jeremy Macauley, already convicted and sentenced to life for the October 2015 double murder of a Tavernier couple, has two weeks to decide whether to accept a plea deal from prosecutors on drugs and weapons charges at the heart of the case.
Prosecutors with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, which is handling the case because of a conflict with the Monroe State Attorney's Office, offered Macauley 15 years for conspiracy to traffic cocaine to run concurrent with his life sentence for murder, which he received in December.
They also offered 15 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which would also run concurrently.
A frustrated Macauley, 35, pleaded for more time to consider the deal.
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"At least give me more time to talk to my family before I take a 15-year sentence," Macauley said at the Plantation Key courthouse Tuesday morning.
In return for the guilty pleas, Macauley's attorney, Ed O'Donnell Sr., wants the option of being able to back out of the deal if his appeal on the murder charges is successful with the Florida Third District Court of Appeal.
If Macauley rejects the deal, he's scheduled to stand trial on the charges on Sept. 17. The cocaine conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. The weapons charge has a three-year mandatory minimum.
Prosecutors say Macauley shot and killed Tara Rosado, 26, and her boyfriend Carlos Ortiz, 30, the night of Oct. 15, 2015, inside Rosado's house on Cuba Road in the Harry Harris Park subdivision in Tavernier. Her three small children, found the next day physically unharmed, were sleeping in another room in the house when their mother and Ortiz were each shot once with a .45 caliber handgun.
The motive was to shut up Ortiz, who had been demanding money in exchange for silence about Macauley's drug dealing. Rosado was killed for witnessing the crime, prosecutors say.
In the days leading up to the murders, Ortiz sent a flurry of text messages to Macauley and his boss, Rick Rodriguez, a charter fishing captain, threatening to tell police about a large haul of cocaine prosecutors say was found offshore and brought back to the docks aboard Rodriguez's Seahorse charter boat.
Rodriguez has not been charged and has denied repeatedly that he knew anything about the drugs.
Macauley enlisted several of his friends, including Ortiz, to break up the cocaine and sell it.
Also charged in the case was Adrian Demblans, 36, of Key Largo. He pleaded guilty in the spring of 2017 to accessory after the fact of a capital crime and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He testified against Macauley during the November trial.
Demblans drove Macauley to and from Rosado's house the night of the murders, and took him to a canal in Key Largo where they tossed the .45.
A snorkeler found the gun a few months later. Found in the same canal was Ortiz's cellphone, which Macauley and Demblans thought contained the extortion text messages. It turned out, though, that detectives found the texts on an Asus Zenfone the murderer left on Rosado's bed.