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Man sentenced to 30 years for killing
By BILL VARIAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000
INVERNESS -- After two years of grappling with the death of her son, Carol McCabe was eager to see the case against his accused killer come to a conclusion without endless appeals.
So when Assistant State Attorney Don Scaglione came to her with a proposed plea agreement that would put Robert DiMarco behind bars for 30 years, she blessed it.
"I always thought that I supported the death penalty," Mrs. McCabe said Monday. "This is something he'll have to face. He's got to look at himself for the next 30 years."
DiMarco, 20, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder Friday in the August 1998 shooting death of Kevin William "Snake" McCabe, 29, who was found floating in the Salt River by a crabber.
Investigators said DiMarco was attempting to rob McCabe of his drug money when he shot him three times and dumped his body.
DiMarco was the last person seen with McCabe, after picking him at the Homosassa home of Mrs. McCabe on Aug. 23. His body was found four days later, without the money Mrs. McCabe said he had gotten from a paycheck and as a gift from his father for his wedding a month earlier.
But investigators never recovered the .38-caliber gun suspected in the killing, and DiMarco never confessed.
Prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder, though Scaglione said that his case against DiMarco was largely circumstantial. Scaglione said Monday that he had been prepared to have an acquaintance of DiMarco testify that DiMarco planned to get retribution because of an earlier disagreement with McCabe.
The lack of physical evidence, however, would have hindered the chances of winning a conviction of first-degree murder against DiMarco, Scaglione said.
So Scaglione approached Mrs. McCabe to get her thoughts on a plea proposal. And he sought the input of sheriff's deputies who had investigated the case. Each approved the deal.
"You really don't know what juries will take to heart," Scaglione said. "Based on the overall facts and the types of evidence we had, it was probably a good resolution."
DiMarco's defense attorneys thought so, too.
In addition to being found guilty of second-degree murder, DiMarco also was found guilty of armed robbery. Circuit Judge Patricia Thomas sentenced DiMarco to three years for the robbery, which will run at the same time as the 30-year term.
He was given credit for time served on a charge of introducing contraband into the Citrus County Detention Facility.
"It was better than possibly facing the death penalty or life in prison without parole," said Charles Vaughn, one of DiMarco's attorneys.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.