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Date of Issue: July 15, 2009

Koenigs complaint filed

Attorneys for the man convicted of shooting an Island woman argue in an appeal that the judge in the circuit case should have ordered a mistrial.

The conviction of Mark Koenigs is on appeal to the  Florida Second District Court of Appeals.

In August 2008, a jury convicted Koenigs for shooting Island businesswoman Sue Normand and threatening to shoot two law enforcement officers trying to arrest him on the Gulf shore. He was convicted of one count of aggravated battery with a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement.

In November 2008, Manatee County Circuit Court Judge Diana Moreland sentenced Koenigs to 40 years in prison. Koenigs’ current prison release date is Dec. 21, 2046.

Soon after the sentencing, Koenigs’ attorney appealed.

On Koenigs’ behalf, public defender James Marion Moorman and special assistant to the public defender Chandra Waite Dasrat recently filed an initial appeal brief asserting that the trial court “abused its discretion in denying appellant’s motion for mistrial after the prosecutor flagrantly and seemingly intentionally violated an order in limine by asking a question deliberately posed to extract prejudicial testimony.” “In limine” means “at the threshold,” and refers to a motion made before the start of a trial.

Before his trial, Koenigs’ defense attorney made an oral motion to prohibit Normand from giving an opinion as to whether Koenigs intended to shoot her because her answer could only be speculative.

The appeal brief stated that the judge granted the motion, stating, “As to ‘and did you finally decide whether he did it intentionally,’ that question is not going to come in.”

Normand did not testify about her opinion, but Koenigs’ defense maintains that the prosecution tried to introduce the victim’s opinion through another witness.

During the trial, Terri Davis, who had been a detective with the Holmes Beach Police Department when the shooting occurred, testified.

The prosecutor asked Davis about her interview with Normand after the shooting: “At that point when Ms. Normand finished speaking to you, when she told you the story, had she told you anything, or did she gesture in any way, or indicate anything to you, that indicated to you that what she had described to, the incident she described to you was accidental?”

Koenigs’ defense attorney at the trial objected to the question, which led to a lengthy discussion between the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney over whether the prosecution was trying to introduce to the jury Normand’s opinion as to whether the shooting was accidental or intentional.

Koenigs’ defense sought a mistrial, but the judge declined, instead offering a “correction” on the record.

In the appeal brief, Moorman and Dasrat wrote, “Appellant’s motion for mistrial should have been granted because the prejudicial question violated the in limine order and was posed during the state’s case-in-chief. At which time, reversible error occurred.”

The prosecutor, as of The Islander’s press time, had not responded to the brief.