State attorney Jeff Ashton to prosecute suspects in Osceola Co. shootings

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

Eyewitness News confirmed Jeff Ashton wants to personally prosecute the suspects charged with random shootings in Osceola County.

It would be his first time handling a high-profile case since he lost the Casey Anthony trial two years ago.

Channel 9's Tim Barber asked why Ashton decided to take on this particular case.

When Ashton was elected state attorney for the ninth circuit, he promised the Casey Anthony trial would not be his last.

Friday he confirmed he's keeping his word.

Ashton's office said he will personally prosecute the young suspects accused of random and deadly shootings that turned Osceola County upside down during the last few weeks.

Ashton declined a request for an interview, so WFTV asked local defense attorney David Hill why he thinks the top prosecutor is taking on this particular case.

"I think that says a lot, you know, that he's going to be physically in there trying the case and getting his hands dirty, so to speak," Hill said.

Hill also said the high-profile case could garner a lot of attention.

The main suspect, 15-year-old Konrad Schafer, told detectives he thought shooting at people would be fun.

The case is complex. There were more than a dozen shootings that were spread out over three jurisdictions.

Even if Ashton loses, Hill doesn't think it will cost him much political capital.

"I think the public doesn't elect or re-elect or not elect a state attorney based on their win loss record," Hill said.

The suspects' hearings are scheduled on July 29.