On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott attended a ceremonial bill signing at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for the Deputy John C. Mecklenburg Act. Deputy Mecklenburg was killed in the line of duty on July 3, 2011 during a high speed pursuit.
The act provides for capital or life murder charges when a human being is killed during the commission of a crime involving aggravated fleeing or eluding from law enforcement officers when there is serious bodily injury or death.
Mecklenburg, a Hernando County deputy for just over two years, was one of a number of officers and deputies who were attempting to stop a vehicle traveling the wrong way against traffic in Brooksville. The suspect, Michael James Anthony, was eventually arrested on I-275 in St. Petersburg, but not before there were two cruiser crashes and a failed P.I.T. maneuver during the high speed pursuit. One of the crashes resulted in Mecklenburg’s death.
Also included in the new legislation is the addition of correctional officers and correctional probation officers to the list of law enforcement victims which constitute life felony murder charges. The changes to F.S.S. 784.02 and other related statutes take effect on October 1, 2012.