• Death recommended for man convicted of killing, burning remains of Summerfield teen

    By: Myrt Price , Christopher Boyce , Kelly Healey , Jeff Deal

    Updated:

    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A jury recommended death Tuesday evening for a man convicted of killing his friend, cutting up his body and setting his remains on fire.

    Michael Bargo was sentenced to death row for the murder of 15-year-old Seath Jackson in 2011, but he was resentenced because the first jury's decision was not unanimous.

    Jurors deliberated for almost five hours before handing down the sentence.

    Defense attorneys asked the jury to consider that Bargo was 18 years old at the time of the killing and his brain hadn't fully matured.

    They also argued he wasn't the mastermind behind the killing.

    In April 2011, Amber Wright, then 18, lured Jackson into a Summerfield home.

    Bargo and three others killed Jackson, burned his body, stuffed the remains in paint pockets and dumped them in a rock quarry in Ocala.

    The state argued Bargo didn't show any mental health issues when he carried out the crime.

    Four others are serving life sentences in connection with the murder: Justin Soto, Charlie Ely, Kyle Hooper and Amber Wright.

    An Ocala man, James Young Havens III, faces up to 30 years in prison for helping dispose of Jackson's body.

    Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates.

     

    Previous story:

     

    Expert witnesses for the defense testified Monday about convicted killer Michael Bargo's mental health.

     

    Bargo was convicted of torturing and killing a 15-year-old Marion County boy.

     

    In April 2011, Amber Wright, then 18, lured Seath Jackson into a Summerfield home. Michael Bargo and three others killed Jackson, burned his body, stuffed the remains in paint pockets and dumped them in a rock quarry in Ocala.
     

    The witnesses testified that Bargo suffered from mental issues, saying he hallucinated and heard and smelled things that were not there while he was incarcerated at the Marion County Jail.

     

    Bargo's mother, Tracey O'Brien, testified Friday.

    O’Brien said Bargo had a good childhood and came from a good home with supportive parents. She also testified that Bargo was “spoiled” but said Bargo didn’t handle it well when his parents divorced when he was 14 years old.
     

    A man who hired Bargo to care for his lawn testified Thursday that he owed Bargo money and gave him a pistol as payment after Bargo asked for the gun, Channel 9 reporter Jeff Deal tweeted from the courtroom.

     

    A medical examiner testified that Jackson died from gunshot wounds and blunt-force trauma. The medical examiner also said there was residue from a bullet in part of his skull that was recovered. 

    Bargo was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death in 2013. Bargo, then 21, became Florida's youngest man on death row.

     

    However, in 2017, the Florida Supreme Court granted Bargo a new hearing because the verdict was not unanimous.

     

     

    The jury must decide whether Bargo will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

    In its line of questioning for potential jurors, defense attorneys are trying to show that Bargo's age at the time of the killing, along with mental disorders, were mitigating factors in the crime.

     

    Meanwhile, the state is working to reinforce that the slaying was cold-blooded and calculated.

     

    Michael Bargo and three others killed Jackson, burned his body, stuffed the remains in paint pockets, and dumped them in a rock quarry in Ocala.
    In April 2011, Amber Wright, then 18, lured Seath Jackson into a Summerfield home. Michael Bargo and three others killed Jackson, burned his body, stuffed the remains in paint pockets, and dumped them in a rock quarry in Ocala.

     

    Four other people are serving life sentences: Justin Soto, Charlie Ely, Kyle Hooper and Amber Wright. An Ocala man, James Young Havens III, faces up to 30 years in prison for helping dispose of Jackson's body. 

     

    The hearing began Wednesday and is expected to last a week.


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