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Sunday, May 26, 2024

A second suspect prosecutors say is responsible for the 2012 murder of a 78-year-old disabled Gainesville man could face the death penalty in a trial that started this week.

Austin M. Jones of Mulberry, Fla., is facing several charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery, according to court records. Jones, 24, and his cousin broke into the home of Paul Quandt, who later died in the hospital after he was beaten, stabbed and shocked with a Taser.

Jones’ cousin, 25-year-old Maranda J. Martin, was convicted last year on similar charges.

Late on the night of Jan. 9, 2012, Jones and Martin broke into Quandt’s home at 4854 NW 75th Road armed with two pistols, two rolls of tape and the Taser, according to Alligator archives.

Police said the pair took a safe with more than $20,000 in gold, silver, cash, guns and electronics then sped away in Quandt’s white Cadillac, according to archives.

They left Quandt at the house with his hands taped together. He was able to slip out of the tape using cooking oil, and he crawled to a neighbor’s house to ask for help before slipping into a coma, according to archives. He died eight days later at UF Health Shands Hospital.

State Attorney’s Office spokesman Darry Lloyd said the trial is expected to last three weeks, which includes a phase to determine whether Jones should receive the death penalty.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 2/13/2014 under the headline "State pursues death penalty for murder suspect"]

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