Devon Arthurs admitted to two counts of second-degree murder in exchange for 45 years in prison. In court, he denounced extremism.
The man at the center of a bizarre double-murder case that brought to light a small-time neo-Nazi group made a guilty plea Monday morning, six years after the killings.
In an agreement with state prosecutors, Devon Arthurs pleaded guilty to two reduced charges of second-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping. In exchange, he agreed to a 45-year prison sentence.
Arthurs, red-bearded and donning a red jail uniform, sat straight-backed and spoke at length after pleading guilty. He apologized to the families of the two men he killed and denounced extremism and hate.
“I feel I can be an advocate against extremism,” Arthurs said. “I’d like to take this moment to tell the world to stay away from extremist groups. … I’m very sorry for everyone that was involved. I’m very sorry for everything that has happened.”
Defense attorneys had prepared to argue that Arthurs was insane when he killed Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman in 2017 at the New Tampa apartment they shared. Mental health experts opined that Arthurs was on the autism spectrum and also suffered from schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that bears traits of both schizophrenia and mood disorders.
The case was set for a two-week trial to begin Monday morning. Instead, the plea deal was reached.
Assistant Public Defender Maria Dunker said in court that a mental health expert had met with Arthurs on Sunday and determined that he was of sound mind to make the guilty plea.