NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A jury in Florida found a physical therapist from Connecticut guilty of killing his wife, their three children and the family’s dog.
Anthony Todt, a Colchester native, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 42-year-old wife Megan, and their three children, Zoe, 4; Tyler, 11; and Alek, 13. He was also found guilty of one count of animal cruelty in the death of the family’s dog, Breezy, who was also found dead in the home.
It took the jury several hours and briefly being deadlocked to reach the guilty verdict. The judge sentenced Todt, 46, to life in prison without parole for each member of the family, as well as another one-year sentence in county jail for the death of the dog, ABC affiliate WFTV reports.
Earlier Thursday during closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell told the jury that Todt nonchalantly detailed the killings to investigators after his arrest at the family’s home in Celebration, a community that is located close to Walt Disney World. He later claimed that he took the blame for his wife, who he said had killed the children and then herself.
“I was covering for my wife,” Todt told the jury when he took the stand in his defense on Wednesday. “Obviously, unsuccessfully. I had no clue how my kids died.”
But Pinnell told jurors Todt wanted to control the lives of his wife and children.
After his arrest, Todt told detectives that he and his wife had an agreement to kill their family so they could “pass over” together when the apocalypse — which they thought was imminent — arrived, Pinnell said Thursday, reiterating an assertion she also made in her opening statements.
The victims were killed sometime after they were last seen in mid-December 2019, prosecutors said. Their decomposing bodies were found wrapped in blankets at the home on Jan. 13, 2020. They had stab wounds and toxic amounts of Benadryl in their systems, according to autopsy reports.
The defense team maintained the state had not proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The medical examiner, they said, could not determine whether the children were suffocated or strangled, and said the stab wounds were likely inflicted after death.
“He came home to his kids being dead, his wife was alive but essentially dying, and stabbed herself in front of him,” Assistant Public Defender Alesha Smith told jurors.
She said the state “is essentially picking and choosing when they want you to believe Mr. Todt and when they don’t,” she said.
But in her final words to the jury, Pinnell insisted that “there is no reasonable doubt in this case.″
The Associated Press contributed to this story.