• Convicted Tarrytown murderer asks for death sentence


    BUSHNELL, Fla.,None - A man convicted of a double murder in Tarrytown said he wants the death penalty.

    Bill Marquardt represented himself in his murder trial in October. Then, he refused to allow a jury to recommend his sentence.

    Marquardt acted as his own attorney during his double murder trial last fall. But a Sumter County jury found him guilty of the March 2000 killings of Margarita Ruiz and Esperanza Wells in their Tarrytown cottage.

    Minutes after the conviction, Marquardt demanded the death penalty.

    "I've never had a death volunteer that has actively pursued it like he has," public defender Charles Vaughn said.

    "He mistakenly believes he's going to be able to get the case reversed on appeal and he's going to gain his freedom," prosecutor Pete Magrino said.

    Magrino said a death sentence gets Marquardt an automatic appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. Life in prison does not guarantee an appeal, which is why for Wednesday's death penalty hearing, Marquardt took steps to prevent his family from speaking on his behalf.

    "They wanted to initially. But apparently, Mr. Marquardt told them not to and they didn't," Vaughn said.

    The family of the victims hopes for the maximum punishment.

    "It doesn't bring them back. But it sure does help us move on," Pam Ruiz said.

    "We've always put it in God's hands. We've always said, 'If we didn't catch up with him, God would,'" Wells said.

    Judge William Hallman will sentence Marquardt on Feb. 28.

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