David Muringer appears to live a charmed life.
The Boynton Beach man was acquitted last month of misdemeanor battery and felony false imprisonment charges just short of a year and a half after he virtually walked away from manslaughter charges that could have cost him fifteen years in prison.
In this latest case against him his girlfriend, Robin Green, 26, told police that Muringer began to strangle her after the two of them had an argument and she tried to leave his apartment. She was able to get away from him and called 911. In this new case if convicted of both charges he would have faced to up to six years behind bars.
Although Muringer’s records show him to be a habitual offender based on Florida criminal records with over 80 arrests and eighteen felony convictions since the late twentieth century, the jury returned not guilty verdicts for both new charges after just a few hours of deliberations.
In October of 2010, patrons of a Delray Beach mall called police when they noticed a car parked behind a pizzeria leaking fluids and emanating an exceedingly bad odor. When police arrived at the scene they found the body of a woman crammed in a cardboard barrel in the back seat of the vehicle. Upon searching the car, a sales receipt for the purchase of a cell phone was found that was traced back to Muringer.
Muringer who worked as a carpenter was picked up by police and when questioned by them changed his story on a variety of occasions during his interviews regarding his girlfriend Doris Lopez who was the woman identified as the deceased.
He first told investigators that a man named Chile gave his girlfriend a half kilo of cocaine that the two of them were going to process and sell. He went on to tell them that the processed drugs were eventually determined to be of unsaleable quality causing Ms. Lopez to dump it. He supposedly remembered that later that week an unidentified man stopped by their apartment asking for her car keys.
However, investigators had little regard for his account and ultimately found the story to be false. He later admitted that the story he told them was indeed fictitious.
During further course of the investigation, Muringer then told detectives that Lopez went on a four-day bender, ingesting booze, coke and prescription drugs. After leaving her at the apartment and returning after approximately an hour he found her dead. He then told the investigators that he panicked because of all the drugs present in the apartment. He went on to tell them that after leaving her in bed for two days he placed her in the cardboard barrel and dumped her remains in Delray Beach, taking a bus back home after the deed was done.
As the investigation continued, detectives debunked his latest tale as well, and Muringer came up with a final alternative scenario, telling them that she was killed during an episode of rough sex.
This time he admitted to choking her during a sexual episode until she was out cold. He went on to say that he then went out for a while, only to return to find her lifeless body. He maintained that the part of his previous tale, when he told them that he left her in her bed for two days was true; before moving the body to where it was found by police.
But during the week-long trial, testifying on his own behalf Muringer said that it was another man that was responsible for his girlfriend’s death. He admitted to disposing of and the removal of the body but blamed the actual killing on a man named Thomas Byrd who he said was a friend of his.
During closing arguments, Muringer’s court appointed assistant public defender pointed suspicion on Byrd, who testified that his friend originally asked him to dispose of Lopez’s body. The defense lawyer also said the discovery of Lopez’s body alone wasn’t enough for them to convict his client of manslaughter. He was quoted as saying “To convict a man of manslaughter, you have got to bring more than this. Because this is how innocent people get convicted.”
After deliberations were concluded the jury told Circuit Judge Charles Burton that they were divided on the prosecution’s appeal for a conviction for manslaughter. But they did find Muringer guilty of the two misdemeanor counts of unlawful disposal of human remains as well as the charge of culpable negligence. Those convictions are punishable by up to sixty days in jail which literally let him walk out of court a free man as he spent more than that amount of time in jail awaiting trial. As previously pointed out, a conviction for manslaughter carries a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison as a second-degree felony.
The two prosecutors in the case told the judge that Muringer could still possibly face other charges before his release but the judge let Muringer know that if the prosecution does not bring forth any other charges deputies would be setting him free shortly with his only punishment being time served.