Guilty of Accessory After the Fact in Head Found in Everglades Case

Robert Mackey, 44 was convicted of trying to cover up a crime.
The original charge against Mackey was second-degree murder. He was accused of being one of the two men who killed Lorraine Hatzakorzian, a New York woman, and then cut her into pieces; pitching her head into a canal in a section of the Everglades, almost seven years ago. Mackey still could spend up to 30 years of incarceration for being convicted of accessory after the fact when he’s sentenced on Feb. 28.

Mackey was from New York and listed his occupation as a tree trimmer. Mackey’s prior co-defendant, Paul Trucchio, 39 accepted a prison term of 30-years last year rather than take his chances with a jury that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life if convicted.

On Monday, the jury deliberated for over two hours without being able to reach a verdict but Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes told them to go back and continue their deliberations in the hopes of reaching an agreement.

After 2½ hours of further deliberations on Tuesday, the verdict came in acquitting Mackey of second-degree murder but finding him guilty of the lesser but still serious charge. As the jurors departed the courthouse they declined to answer any questions, in regard to whether they believed that Mackey was innocent of the grisly murder whatsoever or if they think he killed her somewhere other than within the boundaries of the state of Florida. They also didn’t reveal any details of their original split-decision on the second-degree murder charge.

The charges were challenging for the prosecution to establish from the onset. There were no witnesses tied to the suspect that could directly attribute the death of Lorraine Hatzakorzian directly to the defendant. He was not seen with her, nor did anyone witness him murder her. There were no witnesses that saw him cut off her head or throw it into the canal. There was nobody called that could even verify that Mackey was in the state on April 28, 2007, which was the day that severed head was discovered.

Mackey’s Defense attorney, John George argued that his client wasn’t involved in the victim’s death and an appeal is likely.

In spite of the aforesaid lack of physical evidence the jurors did hear evidence that swayed them to believe that the defendant was linked to the crime. Prosecutor Gregg Rossman exhibited that Mackey and Trucchio were both pulled over by a Volusia County police officer because the car being driven was missing its back window and had a large crack in the front windshield. The vehicle turned out to be the victim’s blue Dodge pickup and was stopped a few days after her head was recovered from the canal. A third man, Louis Caroleo, a friend of Mackey’s was also in the vehicle when it was pulled over. When called to the stand Caroleo testified that Mackey and Trucchio independently confessed to killing a woman and cutting off her head and getting rid of it. They both then prayed to a concrete alligator; that the remains of their deed would be digested before any of the proof was exposed. According to Caroleo’s testimony, this took place outside of the Port Orange motel where they were staying in the late springtime months of 2007. Additionally both men were seen scrubbing the car inside and out with bleach and acid.

In rebuttal, defense lawyer John George mentioned that the missing fragments of the story were an indication that the prosecution couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mackey had anything at all to do with the crime. “For one thing”, he said, “no one established that Hatzakorzian died in Florida. No one established that Mackey was even in Florida when she died or that he was responsible for her death”.

The prosecutor then pressed the jury to depend on the legal presumption that “a murder is presumed to have been committed in the same jurisdiction where the body was found unless there is evidence to the contrary.” And the sole part of Hatzakorzian that was ever found was located in Broward County.

There were also signs that the victim’s head was tossed in the water not too long before it was found, Rossman also argued. “Blood at the scene was still bright red”, he said, “and the head itself showed no signs of being pecked at by wildlife.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s deputy who recovered the head said that he had to act hurriedly to prevent alligators that were close by to the scene from getting to it first.

Apparently, the prosecution’s case was enough to influence jurors that Mackey did indeed assist helping Trucchio cover up the crime.

About 10 members of Hatzakorzian’s family attended every day of the trial.

Related Reading, Explanation of Accessory after the Fact:: Click Here

As shown above, the penalties for being convicted of Accessory after the Fact can be severe. If you or someone you know is facing charges of being an accomplice in a murder trial or charges related to Accessory after the Fact, call Mr. Cohen’s office at 954-928-0059. Mr. Cohen’s experience as well as his previous work as a Federal Prosecutor can assist you by delivering the best possible outcome of the charges alleged by the prosecution. .

Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.

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