Woman, 71, gets 32 years in ex’s death
She had received life term in previous murder trial
A Jupiter woman was sentenced Thursday to 32 years in prison for the fatal shooting of her ex-husband as he took a shower.
The sentence is technically less harsh — but essentially has the same effect — as the life term 71-year-old Donna Horwitz received after being convicted of first-degree murder in 2013. In June, the jury in Horwitz’s retrial convicted her of seconddegree murder.
“Unless she lives an extraordinarily long life, it’s really like a life sentence, anyway,” said defense attorney Grey Tesh. “So we lost the battle, but hopefully not the war.”
Horwitz successfully appealed her 2013 first-degree murder conviction up to the Florida Supreme Court. She plans to appeal again, according to Tesh.
When the sentence was announced Thursday, the shackled Horwitz had no visible reaction. She stared out blankly and slipped off the listening device she wore to amplify sound in the courtroom.
Circuit Judge Krista Marx said that she could not be moved by Horwitz’s age, or accounts that she had been a “sweet and loving” person throughout her life.
“I sat through the trial and I don’t know what snapped in you that day,” Marx said. “There’s no explaining how you took a gun
and shot him that many times while he was in the shower.”
Lanny Horwitz, 66, was shot nine times as he showered in the house the divorced couple shared. He took one bullet in his mouth after he collapsed on the bathroom floor, the shower still running.
Marcia Van Creveld, one of Lanny Horwitz’s sisters, had hoped for another life sentence for her former sister-in-law. She remains heartbroken, she says.
“Naturally, I was disappointed,” Van Creveld said. “This was my brother who was brutally ambushed, murdered, left exposed on the bathroom floor.”
Donna Horwitz’s attorneys had tried to raise doubt in the minds of jurors by suggesting that her adult son, Radley Horwitz, had a strong financial motive to kill his father. He was angry with his dad and wanted to cash in on his $500,000 life insurance policy, the attorneys argued. He lived in the home and was a firearms expert.
But prosecutors convinced a jury that Donna
Horwitz gunned down her ex-husband in a rage. Horwitz “doesn’t deserve less than life in prison,” prosecutor Aleathea McRoberts told the judge.
“This defendant not only has been found guilty a second time, she killed the love of her life — there’s nobody that would disagree with that,” she said. “She blamed her only child, who is her last living relative, for all intents and purposes.”
Most of the prosecution’s case was built around Horwitz’s journal, including entries about her despair.
“I call him Mr. Meanie,” Horwitz wrote about her ex-husband. “My heart is broken.”
Lanny Horwitz was killed on a day he was supposed to have traveled to North Carolina with his female business partner. Donna Horwitz was said to have been jealous because she suspected the two were romantically involved.
Radley Horwitz said he felt for his mother, but he was done being picked on and wants to move on with his life. He said he stopped seeing her about two years ago after she became nasty
with him and ridiculed him for seeing a therapist.
After her 2013 conviction, he said he was OK with his mom using a defense strategy that blamed him for the killing. But he had grown weary of it by her second conviction, saying he was tired of having his reputation attacked.
Still, he sympathizes with his mom.
“I still think if there is ever a case for a psychological abuse, batteredspouse syndrome sort of thing, that this would have been it,” he said Thursday.
Donna Horwitz stands with defense attorney Grey Tesh as Circuit Judge Krista Marx enters court for Horwitz’s sentencing hearing Thursday morning.