FORT PIERCE, FL-– Andrew Michael Gosciminski could soon be headed back to death row now that the jury in his murder retrial voted nine to three to recommend he be sentenced to die for the brutal murder of Joan Loughman in 2002.
It's the exact same recommendation a jury reached in 2005, when he was first tried and convicted of first-degree murder, robbery and burglary for beating, stabbing and cutting Loughman's throat on Sept. 24, 2002.
Her bloodied body was found inside her father's home on Cypress Avenue on Hutchinson Island.
After court, Loughman's husband, Tom Loughman, 62, of Danbury Conn., thanked Assistant State Attorneys Lynn Park and Chris Taylor for prosecuting Gosciminski for a second time.
“I respect the wisdom of jury too, and for their hard work,” he said.
Loughman said this jury was sending a message by reaching the identical recommendation as in Gosciminski's first trial in 2005.
“That he's guilty,” he said, “for two juries to reach the same verdict.”
During his first trial, a jury found Gosciminski, 56, guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, which resulted in a penalty of death. But last year, the state Supreme Court threw out his conviction and punishment and ordered he be granted a new trial.
The high court in part, ruled that during his first trial, several pieces of evidence had been improperly admitted.
State prosecutors again said Gosciminski targeted Loughman for murder in order to steal $40,000 worth of her jewelry, particularly a two-carat diamond ring which has never been recovered.
Authorities determined Gosciminski met Loughman, 55, through his community outreach job at Lyford Cove, an assisted-living facility she’d selected to care for her ailing father.
Loughman's daughter, Karen Stillman, 38, of Danbury, Conn., called the experience of going through a second trial “surreal and painful.”
Stillman said during the first trial, she was filled with “a lot of anger.”
“I worked through a lot of that anger and the anger doesn't cushion you any more,” Stillman said. “So for me it's been a lot of sadness.”
Her sister Nancy Hilliard, 41, of Virginia, agreed.
“It's like opening the old wounds,” she said, “and pouring in tons of salt.”
Both said they were ready to accept if the jury voted for a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. But they also said felt the jury was given all the proof they needed to recommend the death penalty.
“'I'm just glad he's not going to be free to hurt someone else,” Hilliard said after court.
Gosciminski's attorney, Chief Assistant State Attorney Mark Harllee said his client was disappointed in the verdict.
“He's hopeful about his chances on appeal,” he said.
Harllee said an appeal would likely center on the circumstantial evidence presented, and trial's lack of direct physical evidence tying him to the murder scene.
Circuit Judge Robert Belanger, who will impose Gosciminski's final punishment, ordered the parties back to court for a pre-sentencing hearing Oct. 19.
Belanger will announce his sentence during another hearing on Nov. 6.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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