JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After three hours of deliberation, the jury found Ronnie Hyde guilty of first degree murder in the 1994 death of a Nassau County teen on Friday afternoon.
Following the reading of the verdict, Fred Laster's brother, Travis Laster, read an impact statement on behalf of his family.
After the reading of the impact statement, Hyde received a mandatory life sentence in prison with 1851 days already served. He will have to return to court for a separate trial as he is charged with 25 counts of child pornography, as well.
The Jacksonville Beach man was cross-examined Friday morning before closing arguments.
Hyde is charged with first degree murder in the cold case, in which an unidentified torso was discovered behind a gas station dumpster. It was later identified as 16-year-old Fred Laster.
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Under questioning from his own attorney Thursday, Hyde was seemingly at ease, answering her freely, and chuckling often.
"Oh no," he said often, as when attorney Ann Finnell asked, "Would you have ever harmed that child?"
He testified he had no idea where most of the items found at the crime scene were found, including items that had his DNA on them, like a red plaid shirt. He testified he may have given it to Fred Laster.
He said he also gave Laster an egg crate mattress for camping, one similar the blood soaked one found in the Lake City dumpster.
When asked about the pictures of his squalid home, he chuckled and said, "I'm a bit embarrassed about that. If I knew you all were coming over, I would've cleaned up a bit."
The attempt at humor was met with total silence in the crowded courtroom.
The lead FBI agent on the case testified her crews were unable to follow their usual protocol for collecting evidence because Hyde’s home was so full of trash, agents couldn’t safely navigate it. She said they took most items outside to photograph and catalogue, and were required to wear extra PPE and respirators because of what she called “the heavy odor emanating from the house."