The death of a 44-year-old U.S. Navy commander in Orange Park remained a mystery for months as police refused to discuss anything about the investigation into his death.
But 31 months after the body of Alphonso Mortimer Doss was found at the Astoria Hotel, prosecutors will finally start spelling out the case of one of the men charged in his death Tuesday morning.
Anthony Delane Washington, 31, is the first of three people scheduled to go on trial in Doss’ death.
A jury was picked Monday and opening statements in the case are expected Tuesday in front of Circuit Judge John Skinner at the Clay County Courthouse in Green Cove Springs.
Police and prosecutors said Washington is the lover of Yolinda Doss, the estranged wife of Alphonso Doss.
According to police reports and court documents Yolinda Doss, 47, Washington and Ronnie Wilson II, 35, a buddy of Washington’s and Yolinda Doss’ roommate, staged a burglary in the hotel room of Doss.
The killing happened because Yolinda Doss wanted to collect $600,000 in insurance money that would come to her if her husband died, authorities said.
Police said Yolinda Doss served as a lookout while Washington and Wilson waited inside the hotel room and attacked Doss.
Police did not publicize the killing after it happened, and only acknowledged it was a homicide when pressed by media. The trio was arrested six months after Doss was killed.
Alphonso Doss enlisted in the Navy after graduating from a Mississippi high school with honors in 1987. He completed two combat deployments in the Mediterranean, including one aboard the Mayport-based USS Forrestal in 1991.
He was commissioned a naval officer in 1996 through programs at the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University. He completed two secret overseas counterdrug missions and was part of a team charged with interviewing suspected enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay beginning in 2006, including 9/ 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Doss returned to Jacksonville after working at the Naval Education and Training Command in Pensacola, where he’d been stationed since November 2011. He was temporarily stationed in Jacksonville at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, a Navy spokeswoman said.
Doss’ father, Tom Allen, described his son as an ambitious leader who dreamed of becoming a commander one day. He achieved the rank in 2012 and his many awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
But Doss was also battling an addiction to alcohol and his marriage to Yolinda Doss was crumbling.
Doss was convicted of DUI in Santa Rosa County in August 2012, state records show, and began attending a substance abuse treatment program in Jacksonville in the fall of 2013.
Around that time Doss moved out of the house he shared with his wife and daughter and moved into the Astoria.
Washington is the first of the three to go on trial and is charged with first-degree murder. If a jury convicts him of that charge, Skinner will have no choice but to sentence him to life without the possibility of parole.
Trial dates for Doss and Wilson have not yet been set.