LEE COUNTY, Florida, Mon. Apr. 23, 2018– On Friday, April 20, a jury found Belizean Brian Hyde, 22, guilty of killing his aunt, Dorla Pitts, 37; his cousin, Starlette Pitts, 17; her boyfriend, Michael Kelly, and their unborn child.
The trial lasted five days. According to News-Press, Hyde had testified that he had no memory of killing his family, and that he had previously suffered a similar traumatic incident in Belize, in which many of his family members had died.
The defense argued that Hyde’s inability to remember finding his family murdered could be attributed to the trauma he suffered from that previous incident. They also argued that the Lee County Sheriff’s office didn’t investigate evidence that indicated that other people were at the house at the time of the deaths.
Hyde had moved in with his aunt in Lehigh Acres in February of 2015. He had previously spent time in a detention center.
According to investigators in the US, the deaths of the three victims were “one of the most atrocious and grisly at the time.” In 2015, when the murders had originally happened, Amandala had reported that they died from “sharp force trauma to the head and neck.” A report stated that Kelly had defensive wounds.
Hyde had caught the attention of the police when he was driving on the wrong side of the road in a white Range Rover. When police checked the car, they discovered that it belonged to Dorla Pitts, whose address they were processing as a crime scene.
According to the police, Hyde also had blood on his pants and shoes, but was actually arrested for driving without a license.
Another Belizean, Hilbert Lewis, who was a friend of the family, stated that Dorla’s husband, Dorrien Pitts, had called him and asked him to check on the family after a phone call between Dorrien and his wife, Dorla, had been cut off. Dorrien stated that he was on the phone with Dorla when, as she entered the family home, he heard her scream, “Brian, what happened here?”
Police reports had stated that this implied that Dorla had walked into the scene of the crime, and was attacked by Hyde.
Lewis then went to the home and found the gruesome scene and called 911.
Starlette’s 18-month-old child was found in another room, unharmed.
In 2017, Amandala had also reported that Judge Margaret O. Steinbeck had declared a mistrial in the case due to the revealing in court of Hyde’s immigration status — which was an issue at the center of strong public sentiment, and the judge had indicated that they would go to trial again in a year.
Hyde was charged with second degree murder.