A Florida mother who believes her daughter was murdered wants answers, and the office of Florida state attorney Angela Corey wants nearly $180,000 to provide them.
Angel King submitted a public records request to Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit state attorney’s office seeking records from Corey and the circuit’s medical examiner, Dr. Valerie Rao — all in an effort to get to the bottom of the Nov. 2009 death of her daughter, Natasha Boykin, which was ruled a suicide.
Both Corey and Rao are known for their roles in the George Zimmerman murder case — Corey was the state prosecutor and Rao testified as an expert witness.
To fulfill the records request, Corey’s office is asking King to fork over $178,949.48 for the 3,765 man-hours it says will be needed to round up all of the documents, which include records from hundreds of cases and reports.
King says that she was “shocked” by the fee, which she sees as an attempt by Corey to prevent a deeper look into how she, Rao and the state attorney’s office handle cases. The grieving mother also called the quote “absolutely lacking in empathy or compassion.”
“Total disrespect, just as it has been since the loss of my daughter,” King told The Daily Caller.
As the state attorney handling last year’s Zimmerman murder trial, Corey’s prosecutorial practices drew a mountain of criticism. Some accused her of over-charging Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Others pointed to some of Corey’s other cases, including one in which she charged a 12 year-old with first-degree murder. The picture that emerged of Corey during the Zimmerman saga painted her as a thin-skinned and aggressive prosecutor who stopped at no expense to win.
To help get to the bottom of her daughter’s death, King has hired three private investigators and a forensics expert.
David Hodges, King’s lead private investigator, has compiled a list of 65 pieces of evidence which he says shows that Boykin did not shoot herself.
Gun powder residue was found on Boykin’s boyfriend’s arms while stippling was seen on his forehead in a police photograph. Boykin herself had no stippling or residue on her hands or arms, according to evidence compiled by King and her investigative team.
Boykin’s gunshot wound was not at point-blank range, as would be expected in a suicide. And there was evidence that her body had been moved after her death and that her clothes, including her underwear and her bra, had been manipulated.
But police rushed to judgement by ruling the death a suicide, King claims. They closed the case without conducting ballistics tests on the gun Boykin was found holding. They also did not test it for fingerprints, nor did police interview neighbors. The forensics expert King hired also concluded that Boykin’s death appeared to be a “staged homicide case.”
King and Hodges assert that this was done because Boykin’s boyfriend was friends with Jacksonville Beach police officers. The police department has denied the claim and has said that it conducted a thorough investigation.
Both King and Hodges told TheDC that Angela Corey said in a private conversation that if King took Boykin’s boyfriend to court for a civil wrongful death suit, he would be found guilty.
Hodges told TheDC that Corey also intimated that a criminal case was not pursued because Jacksonville Beach has so thoroughly botched the investigation that it would not hold up at trial.
The seasoned investigator said he has been met with skepticism by some who think he is making his claims because he is getting paid.
Not true, he says. He is working for King pro bono.
“We’ve got a murderer on the loose thinking he got away with it,” Hodges told TheDC. ”[Authorities] circled the wagons because they’re all culpably negligent.”
In an interview with TheDC, state attorney Richard Mantei, who was one of the attorneys that tried Zimmerman, denied any sort of cover-up and said that the hefty price tag for the records request was merely a function of the sheer amount of work it would take to compile all of the records.
“Nobody’s afraid to answer questions,” said Mantei. “Ms. King just doesn’t like the answers.”
Hodges told TheDC that King has hired an attorney who will be moving forward with a lawsuit.
“I loved my daughter with all my heart,” King told TheDC. “She was my world, my entire purpose.”
Correction: This article initially reported that private investigator David Hodges had compiled a list that included pieces of evidence that indicated, in part, that the boyfriend of Natasha Boykin shot and killed her. That was inaccurate. Instead, Hodges’ list provides pieces of evidence that he believes strongly suggests that Boykin did not commit suicide. The article has been changed to reflect this.