Patrick A. Evans has already been through a legal nightmare. Convicted of murdering his wife and her friend in 2008, Evans thought the worst was behind him. However, it was only just beginning. Now Evans is facing more legal trouble as a jury ruled that he must pay $54 million to the estate of Jerry Taylor, one of his victims. Yet another wrongful death lawsuit representing his former wife is still being argued in court.
The wrongful death case was explosive from the start. The jury ordered Evans to pay $54 million including a $4 million sum for pain specifically inflicted against the victim’s young daughter, Francesca. The girl was only 7 when her father was murdered and the jury was obviously moved by a recorded deposition with the grieving child. Evans was also ordered to pay $50 million in damages and an addition $26,000 for court expenses.
In the beginning of the lawsuit, Evans had a defense attorney to represent him, but the attorney eventually withdrew before the case went to trial. Evans did not attempt to even fight the lawsuit after that. Already, the convicted killer was facing life in prison without parole or the death penalty. There is no way he will be able to pay the full amount ordered by the court, but his existing assets will be used to cover as much as possible. Evans owned a home on the water in St. Pete Beach, an airplane, and a condo.
Before the murder, Evans worked as vice-president of Jabil. He was in charge of handling the Asia division of the company’s business. However, his personal life took a dark turn as he plummeted into a third divorce. That’s when he murdered his estranged third wife and her friend in their Florida home.
Following the wrongful death lawsuit, court battles have continued in the Florida Supreme Court. In late 2015, the court overturned the conviction and death sentence for Jabil, ordering a retrial. The state attorney vowed to continue seeking the death penalty but then the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty could only be used in unanimous jury verdicts. Now facing another trial for the same crimes, Evans’ fate is resting in the hands of 12 new jurors. If they vote unanimously that he is guilty, it could still land him on death row. Evans’ defense attorneys have filed rapid emergency petitions to try to stall the process.
So far, Evans roller coaster case has done nothing except buy him time. He still faces two potential first-degree murder convictions, which will be hard to escape thanks to 911 recordings that managed to partially capture the shooting as it unfolded.
Christopher Ligori, a Tampa personal injury attorney, said the case will probably continue for many months. “In retrials like this, you can expect repeated stalling tactics. That is one of the ways that attorneys work the court system to gain small advantages that can add up in big ways when a final verdict is delivered.”