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‘Make me pay for it’: Fla. jury recommends death penalty for convicted cop killer

Patrick McDowell pleaded guilty to the shooting death of Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers at a traffic stop in 2021

Joshua Moyers

Nassau County Sheriff’s Office

By Joanna Putman

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — A jury recommended the death penalty for the man who admitted to the 2021 killing of a Florida officer, News4Jax reported.

Patrick McDowell pleaded guilty in the shooting death of Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers at a traffic stop in 2021, according to the report. He was recommended for the death penalty on April 25 following a jury vote of 11 to 1.

The decision comes after the jury unanimously found that five aggravating factors were met, indicating the murder was cold, premeditated and committed to avoid arrest while Moyers was performing his duties, according to the report. During the hearing, McDowell read a lengthy statement against the advice of his attorney.

“Make no mistake, I am sorry and I hate myself for what I did, but that’s simply not enough to outweigh the aggravators by any imaginable standard…” McDowell said. “I can’t take away the pain I’ve caused, but I can pay for it. So make me pay for it.”

Following the jury’s decision, a Spencer hearing has been scheduled, which will allow McDowell’s defense to have one final chance to argue against the death penalty recommendation.

“Lord willing when this death sentence is carried out, I’ll be sitting on the front row with a box of popcorn, eagerly waiting for him to take his last breath,” Sheriff Bill Leeper stated. “It just ripped the guts out of our agency, out of our employees. The dispatchers who had to hear the cries for help on the radio, the deputies who responded, who tried to save Josh’s life. That’s something to live with forever.”