The Monroe County State Attorney's Office will not retry an ex-Miami Beach cop sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for attempting to murder his estranged wife and her boyfriend during a rampage at the man's Plantation Key home, it was announced this week.
William Thomas Skinner was convicted and sentenced to two life terms on counts of burglary of a dwelling while armed, and attempted second-degree murder stemming from the 2009 shooting. The case has since been mired in legal semantics.
Skinner will nonetheless remain in prison for life.
"Mr. Skinner's conviction for attempted second-degree murder was reversed (on appeal) due to an error in the jury instructions," State Attorney Catherine Vogel said in a press release. "At the time of trial he had been convicted of armed burglary, as well and sentenced to life in prison."
The Third District Court of Appeal did, however, affirm Skinner's life conviction on the burglary conviction, Vogel noted. In other words, any new conviction would well be moot as Skinner is serving life anyway.
"The State Attorney's Office consulted with the victims in the case," Vogel said. "Based upon the desire of the victims, as well as the fact that continued prosecution would not result in any additional sentence, the State Attorney's Office made the decision not to proceed with a new trial."
The Third District Court of Appeals issued a ruling April 9 that clarified its previous January order granting Skinner a new trial because jurors were read erroneous jury instructions, that attorneys failed to object, and therefore Skinner should be granted a new trial, according to court records.
The appellate court said in its ruling in April that jurors were read incorrect instructions as to the lesser-included offense of manslaughter -- a specific point that was missing in the January ruling.
The court cited in its most recent ruling a Florida Supreme Court case regarding manslaughter jury instructions not on the books when Skinner was sentenced to two life terms.
Vogel reiterated in April that Skinner wasn't convicted of manslaughter, so the appellate ruling was more about legal semantics than practical application in terms of court time and taxpayers money.
"The January ruling didn't say what counts were reversed, and the Third DCA was silent on that at that time (in January)," Vogel said in April. "At the time, we contacted the Attorney General's Office because we were confused as to what was reversed and what wasn't."
On June 1, 2009, Skinner got into his car at his Key Largo home with two guns in tow, and drove 14 miles south to the Plantation Key home where his estranged wife, Indira Skinner, was living with their 5-year-old son, Luke, according to police reports.
After confronting Indira at the door and trying to strangle her, Skinner returned to his car, grabbed the more powerful of the two guns, and attempted to force his way in while shooting through and around the door at Indira and her boyfriend, Jesus Revulcaba.
When he ran out of bullets, he grabbed a heavy wooden stick and pounded Revulcaba on the head, reports state.
Prosecutors said he fired five shots at Indira and Revulcaba. One shot struck Revulcaba in the shoulder.
Police found Revulcaba lying in a pool of blood when they arrived that morning. He was airlifted to a Miami hospital. He survived the wound.
Skinner worked as a Miami Beach police officer for 23 years before retiring in 2003 in good standing with the rank of captain.
A Plantation Key jury deliberated for about five hours before handing down two second-degree attempted murder convictions against Skinner, as well as one conviction for armed burglary because he forced entry into the home while carrying his .357 Smith and Wesson revolver.