On Thursday, Feb. 13, a man who was convicted of beating a Florida newspaper reporter to death with a hammer then burying his body in a concrete-covered pit received a life in prison sentence. He killed the reporter for his $100,000 collection of fantasy role-playing cards for the game, “Magic: The Gathering.”
William Cormier III was convicted by the jury of first-degree murder of Sean Dugas. The jury deliberated just over an hour before coming to a verdict.
During the trial, Prosecutor Bridgette Jensen revealed in her closing argument that Cormier III sold the cards and used part of the money to purchase the plastic storage container Dugas’ body was placed in. Jensen said, “He sold Sean’s own cards to buy that cheap, plastic coffin to put his body in.”
Cormier’s defense attorneys claim that their client was not the one who killed Dugas and that his twin brother is the guilty one. Cormier’s twin brother, Christopher pleaded no contest to charges that he helped his brother move Dugas’ body from where he was killed in Florida to where they dumped the body in Georgia.
Both Cormier and his brother Christopher were in the courtroom while Dugas’ family members testified in front of the judge. They asked that both of the brothers be given the maximum sentence.
During the sentencing hearing, Christopher Dugas said of his son, “Bohemian, eclectic, unique, free spirit, all these words were used to describe Sean. The most important word to me was son. He was my only son.”
Dugas’ mother, Lois Jones told the judge, “I despise the fact that his supposed friends could hurt him like this. You must make sure they never hurt anyone else.”
Sean Dugas’ body was discovered over a month after he was murdered. His body was found in the backyard of Cormier’s father’s home in Winder, Georgia.
The only person to testify for the defense was Cormier. He tried to tell the jurors that he was following his twin brother’s orders. He claims that when he sold over $12,000 of the cards he didn’t know that Sean Dugas was dead.
Defense attorney, Richard Currey said, “His brother said, ‘Here’s a note from Sean wanting us to help him move.’ His brother said ‘Sean wants us to help him get some money and sell his Magic cards.’ He didn’t think anything of it, he trusted his brother.”
Contrary to the brother’s father’s testimony that said Cormier III was the dominate twin, Currey argued that it was Christopher who was the leader. Currey went on to say that Christopher was questioning his sexuality and that Dugas’ death could have been a “crime of passion” committed by Christopher Cormier.
Jensen on the other hand claims that it was Cormier III’s conflicting statements that proved his guilt in the murder. First Cormier III told one of his neighbors that Dugas was moving to Georgia with him.
Cormier III told a different man that he was the owner of Dugas’ home and that Dugas was just a tenant who had moved out on him. Cormier III then told investigators that he’d helped Dugas move to another address in Florida however, he couldn’t provide the alleged new address.
Jensen stated, “He [Cormier III] told you yesterday that he didn’t do it. Every one of those 14 blows to Sean’s head say otherwise.”
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistant medical examiner, Dr. Cassie Boggs, Dugas was discovered in a fetal position in the storage container. He was surrounded by sheets, a plastic tarp, air fresheners and spray foam used to seal cracks in walls. Boggs said that due to the layer on concrete on top of him, Dugas’ body had to be cut from the bottom of the plastic bin.
Cormier’s father testified that after receiving a phone call from a Pensacola detective about Dugas’ disappearance he spoke with both of his sons. “I said, ‘What the hell is going on? There is a detective from Pensacola calling and somebody is missing’.”
According to his father, Cormier III told him he needed to move something he’d buried in the back yard.
William Cormier III received life in prison and Christopher Cormier was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
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