The trial for the accused killer of “Lake Park’s Ice Cream Man” began today. I remember when this senseless murder took place, the horror of our community was palpable. As a community, led by former Mayor Desca Dubois, and then Town Manager Maria Davis, we worked to provide some sense of comfort for this family. Hopefully this trial will bring final resolution.
Today, Ms. Atilus and her children remain in Lake Park, they are productive and active members of our community. I wish blessings on this family and peace to them as they move through this trial and the court process.
Below is the Palm Beach Post account of today’s trial proceedings…
Accused killer wanted ‘to make a quick buck or to punish’ beloved Lake Park ice cream man, prosecutors say
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
WEST PALM BEACH —
Rescue workers had to pry open the back doors of Fresnel Atilus’ colorful ice cream truck in a desperate attempt to save his life, prosecutors said.
But by then, the five gunshot wounds he suffered had already left him lifeless on the floor of his truck.
This morning, in the first degree murder trial of Fresnel’s accused shooter, Frank Collins, Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts said Collins killed the popular Lake Park ice cream man in 2008 either “to make a quick buck or to punish” the beloved 32-year-old married father of seven.
“It was brutal, and it was without justification,” McRoberts said in opening statements to jurors this morning.
Collins’ defense attorney, Stephanie McQueen, told jurors that Atilus’ death was indeed a tragedy, but she says prosecutors don’t have any physical evidence linking Collins to the crime.
McQueen said that testimony during the trial will show inconsistencies in witness testimony, including an identification from one witness who said he saw Collins leaving the scene but failed to mention at all the pair of tattoos Collins has framing his face.
“In order for justice to be served, they have to have the right person,” McQueen said.
Collins is one of three men accused in Atilus’ December 2008 fatal shooting. The killing of Atilus, who left behind six children and a then-pregnant wife who couldn’t speak English, shocked the community and spurred an outpouring of donations from throughout the country.
In May 2010, a jury convicted 25-year-old Michael Murdock Jr. of first degree murder and attempted robbery. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Murdock drove the getaway car after prosecutors say Collins and another unidentified man allegedly approached the service window of Atilus’s ice cream truck as if they were going to buy ice cream and then opened fire. Atilus’ assailants then ran to a nearby car driven by Murdock and sped off.
A third unidentified man, who police believe participated in the murder, fled to the Bahamas.
Atilus, who started driving the ice cream truck when he was laid off from his construction job, was blocks from his home on Foresteria Drive when he was attacked.
Atilus’ widow, Iranaise, had joined her husband from Haiti about a year before the shooting. She and several other relatives sat in court this morning as prosecutors called their first witnesses in the case.
A key prosecution witness is expected to be Frederick Cobia, a jailhouse lawyer who himself pleaded guilty to murder charges. Prosecutors say Cobia briefly worked on Collins’ behalf while at the Palm Beach County Jail, and is expected to bring out information linking Collins to the crime.
If convicted, Collins faces life in prison.
An awesome photographer, creative blogger and just all around fun girl. This week I choose my friend Alissa Dragun as the Tuesday 10 respondent.
Need a photog? Check her out…. http://www.southmoonphotography.com/
Check out her blog with awesome pics and great recipes. http://picturespiecesandplantains.com/
1) Excluding family members, who inspires you?
Francesca Woodman (a photographer who’s work inspired me and whose life was much too short)
2) What is your guilty pleasure? Taking a Bath and Eating Chocolate…at the same time!
3) If you were to write a book, who is one person you would want to list in the acknowledgements and what would you say? Mom, Dad, Husband, Sister and Son
4) What is your favorite sandwich? Bratwurst with Mustard on a toasted bun with swiss cheese at a German restaurant!
5) What is the best professional advice you ever received? Learn to have more Empathy.
6) As a child, what was your favorite bedtime story? Anything my parents told me they did as a kid.
8) What is the one career achievement you are most proud of? Starting my photography business and being published in international books and magazines.
9) If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would you choose and why? A Gelfling like in the movie The Dark Crystal. Just because it looks cool to run around in their world! That or Fraggle Rock!
10) What is the best meal you ever ate? Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the Indianapolis Museum of Art when I was 7 months pregnant. Was the food really amazing or was I just really hungry? My mother insists the food was amazing…tons of butter in the mashed potatoes. Meal – Mashed potatoes and a roasted half of organic chicken. Simple but amazing! Also, the first time I ate Indian food. Amazing too!