Bobby Kent PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 October 2008 12:35

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Bobby Kent

Born: May 12, 1973

Died: July 15, 1993

Age: 20

Cause of death:  Stabbed and beaten.

Notable because: Killed by 7 friends including his best friend and fellow steroid user.

 

Bobby Kent was a young American murdered by seven teenagers, including his best friend, Marty Puccio, in South Florida. He attended South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida.

Bobby Kent was, by many accounts, a popular, athletic boy. He earned a decent grade point average in school and played sports. His parents, Fred and Farah Kent, had high aspirations for him; Fred was self-employed as a stockbroker, and had plans to set his son up running his own business once he graduated from college. Kent, who was an avid car stereo enthusiast and had his own vehicle sound system that was worth several thousand dollars, had told his father that was the type of business he would like to get into.

According to Tim Donnelley, who tried all the conspirators for his murder, one attorney described Kent as "Very Eddie Haskell like. Adults saw him one way (polite and charming) while the kids saw him a completely different way."

Kent and Puccio had known each other since third grade, had lived on the same block in Broward County since that time, and were good friends as adults. Bad blood, however, existed between the two. Puccio felt "ill-will and hatred" towards Kent because Kent would bully and pummel him. Both sets of parents were wary of the friendship as well. Puccio's parents, Martin Sr. and Veronica, were cautious because Marty often returned from being with Kent with bruises or bleeding. Fred Kent thought of Puccio as a wayward slacker who had no future (Puccio was a high school dropout) and felt the friendship with his son would destroy the future he was helping him build. Both boys were avid steroid users which, according to testimonial accounts, significantly contributed to Kent's erratic, aggressive behavior.

Kent and Puccio had also delved into making homosexual porn movies in the hopes they could sell them to local shops to earn extra money. Neither Kent nor Puccio actually participated in these movies, but rather allegedly directed them and either coaxed or forced Lawrence Shafer, a Florida man in his early 40's, to perform on camera. Kent tried to peddle the movie, entitled Rough Boys, to porn shops across South Florida. However, none took him up on the offer due to the poor audio and video quality as well as the lack of any sexual activities in the film beyond Shafer dancing nude and playing with a dildo.

For a few weeks prior to his death, Kent dated Alice Jean Slay, best friend of Puccio’s girlfriend, Lisa Connelly. Slay moved back with her parents in Palm Bay, Florida, and broke up with Kent after Kent allegedly forced Slay to watch a graphic homosexual porn movie while he had rough sex with her. Kent reportedly said he was going to murder her and smother her baby unless she returned to Broward County to date him. Slay returned and she and Connelly concocted a plan to kill Kent. The girls obtained a gun (Connelly's mother's gun which Lisa stole from her for that night) and lured Kent to a rock pit in west Broward, but backed out at the last minute.

The plan was for Slay to seduce Kent and begin having sex with him. While this was happening, Connelly would sneak up behind Kent and shoot him. Connelly allegedly later said that she did not shoot Kent because the police can trace bullet fragments to the gun they originally came from.

The next day, July 15, 1993, a wider circle of friends conspired to kill Kent, including the newly recruited Derek Kaufman, who the group heard through friends was a gang leader and Mafia hitman. Prior to meeting the group, Kaufman had no association with Kent, Puccio or any other member. The group again lured Kent to the rock pit in an undeveloped area in Western Broward County, Florida (at the time in the early stages of being developed as a subdivision), which is now the neighborhood of Weston.

Puccio had told Kent that they were going to race cars (specifically Slay's high-powered 5.0 Ford Mustang) and that Slay wanted to have sex with him again. That night, despite blistering Florida summer heat and humidity, Puccio was dressed in black jeans and a black trenchcoat with a red bandana tied around his head. According to Slay, "Marty came out of [his] house looking like Rambo."

Sometime around midnight, Slay led Kent away from the group down by a canal that ran up against the area. Heather Swallers then was instructed by Derek Kaufman to join them and figure out if Kent suspected anything. If she felt he didn't, Kaufman told her to ask Kent if there were any alligators in the canal. Once she did that, the murder would commence. Swallers asked Kent if the canal had any alligators and Kent sarcastically told her she should go skinny dipping and find out for herself.

Almost immediately after, Donny Semenec charged Kent and stabbed him from behind in his neck. Kent whirled around and called out to Puccio for help. Puccio then stabbed him in the abdomen, and when Kent tried to flee, Semenec, Kaufman, and Puccio tackled him and stabbed and beat him. Several times during the murder, Kent begged Puccio for mercy, telling his friend "I'm sorry! Marty, whatever I did, I'm sorry!", but Puccio continued. While Kent was down, Puccio cut his throat and hit his head against the ground so hard he fractured a vertebra in Kent's neck.

Kaufman delivered the final blow with a weighted baseball bat to the head. Kent's body was then dumped into a canal; however, there are conflicting reports over who did it, either Kaufman and Derek Dzvirko (Lisa's cousin who was also along) or Kaufman and Puccio.

Dzvirko was also the one who led Detective Frank Illaraza of the Broward Sheriff's Office to Kent's body a few days later.

Conspirators
Conspirator's name Birthday Annotations
Martin Joseph (Marty) Puccio March 21, 1973 Kent's best friend since childhood, boyfriend of Lisa Connelly.
Lisa Marie Connelly July 31, 1974 Marty's girlfriend. Was angry at Kent for beating and bullying Marty as well as allegedly raping her best friend, Alice Slay. Kent was also known to commonly refer to Connelly (who was overweight) as "fatass", "tatonka", "potlock" "chub" and "Shamu", often encouraging and/or forcing Puccio to do the same.
Alice Jean Slay (Ali Willis) August 29, 1975 Kent's former girlfriend, set up with Kent by Connelly in the hopes that if he was with her, he'd leave Puccio alone. Allegedly involved in a teenage prostitution ring prior to Kent's murder.
Donald Roth (Donny) Semenec Jr. July 15, 1975 Slay's boyfriend at the time of the murder. Habitual drug user. Supposedly helped in the murder because he was angry at Kent for raping his girlfriend. Struck the first blow on Kent. Murder occurred on his 18th birthday.
Derek Leon Kaufman May 8, 1973 Self-proclaimed mafia hitman who the group enlisted to plan Kent's murder. Had no association to any of the other conspirators prior to this. Was actually the leader of a gang of youths 7-10 years younger than he was, who committed petty crimes such as theft.
Derek George Dzvirko November 30, 1973 Connelly's cousin who was enlisted for extra help by Connelly. Played a minor role in the murder, borrowed one of the baseball bats used to kill Kent from a friend. Along with Swallers, was offered and accepted a plea bargain in exchange for testimony that would help convict others in the group. The two were originally promised the same prison sentence, however Dzvirko got four extra years for attempting to lie on the witness stand.
Heather June Swallers May 24, 1975 Previous friend of Slay who had just gotten out of drug rehab. The member of the group deemed by the State of Florida to be the least culpable for Kent's murder. Had no participation in the murder itself and ran and hid in Slay's car once it started. Cut the same plea bargain as Dzvirko did and got the promised sentence because unlike him, she did not lie during her testimony.

The co-perpetrators were convicted and sentenced as follows:

  1. Heather Swallers
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (seven years imprisonment); Released February 14, 1998
  2. Derek Dzvirko
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (11 years imprisonment) Released October 1, 1999
  3. Alice Slay
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (40 years imprisonment, which was commuted on appeal to 17 years in prison. She was released on parole on September 16, 2001 and is currently under community supervision for 40 years)
  4. Donald Semenec (aka Day)
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (life and 15 years imprisonment) He is incarcerated at Columbia Annex DC number 963020
  5. Derek Kaufman
    first-degree murder and conspiracy (the jury recommended life and he was sentenced to life and 30 years imprisonment) He is incarcerated at Mayo/C.I. DC number 894391
  6. Lisa Connelly
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (life and five years imprisonment, which was reversed on appeal and reduced to 22 years; she was released on parole on February 3, 2004).
  7. Martin Puccio
    second-degree murder and conspiracy (death by electric chair, which was commuted on appeal to life in prison. He is incarcerated at Desoto Annex, DC.

The murder resulted in a best selling true crime book in 1998, Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge (ISBN 0-380-72333-6) written by Jim Schutze. The book was adapted by Zachary Long (a pseudonym used by David McKenna after he demanded his name be removed from the film) and Roger Pullis into the 2001 film, Bully. The story was also covered during an A&E Television crime special.

In the film, Puccio was portrayed by Brad Renfro, Kent was portrayed by Nick Stahl, Slay was portrayed by Bijou Phillips, Connelly was portrayed by Rachel Miner, Semenec was portrayed by Michael Pitt, Swallers was portrayed by Kelli Garner, Dzvirko was portrayed by Daniel Franzese, and Kaufman was portrayed by Leo Fitzpatrick.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 18 June 2010 09:43
 

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