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Date of Issue: January 03, 2008

Koenigs invokes right to silence; Normand returns to Island

The local man charged in connection with the Dec. 5 shooting of businessperson Sue Normand has formally invoked his constitutional right to remain silent.

Mark W. Koenigs, 54, has refused to talk with law enforcement personnel about the shooting at Island Mail & More in Holmes Beach since his arrest that Wednesday.

Koenigs was shoot and injured when he allegedly aimed a 9-mm handgun at Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies on the shore in Bradenton Beach.

According to police, Koenigs walked into Island Mail & More in the Anna Maria Island Centre Shops shortly after Normand opened the store. He removed a gun from a box and, with another customer standing by, shot Normand once in the abdomen.

The 63-year-old storeowner and chair of the Holmes Beach Planning Commission suffered a shattered hip and spent nearly two weeks in a rehab facility after a week in intensive care.

Last week, Normand made a very low-key move from the Sarasota rehab facility to a ground-level residence on the Island. With the help of Duncan Real Estate, she planned to remain in the temporary residence until Jan. 1, then move to another temporary ground-level residence until mid-January or month’s end.

Property manager Judy Giovanelli said Normand is known to the Duncan team and, in the holiday spirit, they wanted to help.

Normand cannot return to her elevated Holmes Beach home until it can be outfitted with a lift, an expense that could cost from $14,000 to $18,000.

“I might be using a walker for three to six months,” said Normand, who opened Island Mail & More five years ago.

Her son, Stephen, has conducted business at the store while she recovers from her injuries and surgery.

Business, he said, had been good during the holiday season and he anticipated continued strong business during what’s known in the shipping industry as the “returns” season.

Meanwhile, supporters continued to raise money for Normand’s medical expenses. One man left a check for $500 for the effort with Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who has assisted Normand with securing medical care.

“But I don’t think it’s all coming in like that,” Whitmore said of the donation, which she in turn handed over to the Sue Normand Relief and Recovery Fund.

While government programs exist to compensate victims of crime and Normand can also decide to seek compensation through the courts, she already faces mounting medical expenses without health insurance.

Normand’s family launched to help raise money via PayPal contributions on the Internet. Also, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is raising money through donations to the Bay of Dreams fund.

“I think it’s going really very well,” chamber president Mary Ann Brockman said of the fundraising.

As of Dec. 27, the Bay of Dreams account held $7,371.05 for Normand, according to Island attorney Chuck Webb, who was tracking the donations.

Meanwhile, Koenigs, represented by public defender Peter Belmont, will face arraignment Jan. 18.

Koenigs, at the Manatee County jail on $2.4 million bond, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

Most recently, Koenigs’ invocation of his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was filed at the Manatee County Courthouse. The document specifies that Koenigs’ “demands that no local, state or federal police or prosecution personnel (including jail inmates at the request or direction of such personnel) attempt to engage me in any conversation whatsoever concerning any crime or criminal activity, without first providing me an attorney and having that attorney present.”

Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine said his department did not try to talk with Koenigs the last two weeks in December.

The chief added that HBPD personnel continue to work on the case.

“We’re still following up on the physical ties to the scene,” Romine said. “We’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”

Koenigs was not arrested at the crime scene but rather in Bradenton Beach, after being spotted from a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office helicopter. Law enforcement was searching for a man in a blue sweatshirt known as “Mark.”