St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Murderer of couple is sentenced to death

It takes a judge just five minutes to inform William Deparvine of his fate.

Published January 10, 2006

TAMPA - It took William Deparvine days to plot the double murder of a Tierra Verde couple two years ago.

It took a judge five minutes on Monday to pronounce his fate:


Hillsborough Circuit Judge J. Rogers Padgett imposed the penalty on Deparvine, 53, for killing Richard and Karla Van Dusen in November 2003.

The judge issued the sentence with a just few short words, but it was all the slain couple's family needed to hear.

"I think he got what he deserved," said Richard Van Dusen's daughter, Michele Kroeger. "But nothing will bring our parents back."

Deparvine, who is hearing-impaired, wrinkled his brow slightly and appeared to be straining to understand the judge as the sentence was read, but he otherwise showed no emotion Monday.

During his two-week trial in August, Deparvine took the witness stand and denied having a hand in the killings. He said he last saw the couple on Nov. 25, 2003, when the Van Dusens delivered a vintage pickup truck he purchased to his St. Petersburg apartment.

But investigators used DNA evidence and phone records to link Deparvine to the crime after the couple's bodies were found in a dirt driveway near Old Memorial Highway in northwest Hillsborough County the next day. The Van Dusens' Jeep Cherokee was later found in a parking lot about a mile away.

In August, a jury convicted Deparvine for shooting the couple at point-blank range and recommended the death penalty.

When Deparvine was arrested in January 2004, investigators said they thought he may have been behind several unsolved murders in Sarasota, Clearwater and Texas. But so far no other charges have materialized.

During a hearing two months ago, Deparvine's daughter, Kourtney Deparvine, pleaded with the judge to spare her father. But on Monday the convicted killer faced his fate with only his attorney by his side. He mumbled a simple "Yes, sir," as Padgett spoke to him from the bench.

Emotions were running high on the prosecution side of the courtroom, where several Van Dusens family members and friends awaited the sentence. Richard Van Dusen's mother began to sob as bailiffs led Deparvine away. She covered her face with her hands and asked again and again in a thin voice, "Is it over? Is it over yet?"

The wait for a death sentence had ended. But an even longer wait lies ahead. Deparvine's case is likely to wind its way through appeals courts for several years.

And the passage of time has not dulled the pain, Kroeger, 33, said.

"It's still very difficult. There's not a day that goes without thinking about our dad," Kroeger said.

--Candace Rondeaux can be reached at 813 226-3337 or

[Last modified January 10, 2006, 01:51:15]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters