MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Convicted cop killer Leonardo Franqui was in court Tuesday, for a third time, trying to get his death sentence set aside in the robbery and murder of a North Miami police officer more than 25 years ago.
North Miami Det. Steve Bauer, a husband and father of three, was in uniform when he was murdered by Franqui and two accomplices as he escorted a bank teller carrying a box full of cash to a drive through window.
Frankie was convicted on strong evidence, including a detailed graphic confession.
He was sentenced to death in 1994, and the sentence was reaffirmed in 1998 when a second jury heard arguments as to why he should be spared, but rejected them.
He was back in a Miami-Dade courtroom Tuesday, again arguing that his death sentence should be set aside because he is intellectually unfit to be executed. The Florida Supreme Court ordered the hearing, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that IQ levels used to determine a person‘s fitness for execution are arbitrary, and more factors should be considered.
In the courtroom Tuesday was Kyle Bauer, who was 3 years old when his father was murdered.
“I remember it. I just knew that my father was gone, and I didn’t understand why,” Kyle Bauer said outside the courtroom. “I lost the center figure of my family. He was the rock who held us together. It was one of the hardest things you could ever go through in your life.”
The court room was filled with police officers, who don’t buy for a moment Franqui’s claim now that he was or is mentally deficient.
“His actions, his confession, his words were all calculated, and it shows he was of sound mind and he certainly is capable of killing another human being,“ said John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association union.
“We are going to go through this,” said North Miami Police Chief Larry Juriga. “We’re going to stand through with the department, and stand through with the Bauer family.”
Should Franqui be executed?
“He deserves it,” said Kyle Bauer. “He took my father away from me, and he’s had his whole life.”
Unlike in previous attempts, there is no jury deciding Franqui‘s fate in these proceedings.
Judge Ellen Sue Venzer will determine if, all things considered, he is fit to be put to death.
She heard experts testify for Franqui Tuesday that given language, cultural and other issues, Franqui isn’t intellectually fit to be executed, even though his IQ exceeds the level required in Florida.