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Courts / Law

Prosecutors Will Seek The Death Penalty For Suspect In Polk County Killings

Scene from Polk shooting on Sept. 5, 2021
Polk County Sheriff's Office
Four people -- including a 3-month-old infant -- were killed in a shooting on Sept. 5, 2021.

He is accused of killing four people, including an infant.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a former Marine accused of killing a Polk County family earlier this month.

The state attorney's office said Friday that the Sept. 5 killings of the Lakeland family were “committed on a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.”

The suspect is accused fatally shooting 40-year-old Justice Gleason; his 33-year-old girlfriend, Theresa Lanham and her 3-month-old while he was in her arms, and 62-year-old Catherine Delgado.

Gleason’s 11-year-old daughter survived despite several gunshot wounds.

RELATED: Polk Shooting Spotlights Veterans' Mental Health Issues Amid War Ending, Pandemic

Officials say the suspect suffered from PTSD and drove from his home in Brandon. He accused the family of being child sex traffickers.

A grand jury indicted the suspect on charges including attempted murder, kidnapping, arson, and animal cruelty for killing the family dog.

WUSF is not naming the suspect due to the nature of his mental illness.

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