A grisly murder case gets sentenced in Monroe County

Monroe County State’s Attorney Dennis Ward joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the goings on in his office.

One big case was Steven Wolf, the 62-year-old man who in 2018 abducted a homeless woman, put her in his van, tied her up, sexually assaulted her violently and killed her.

He was discovered in the Kmart Shopping Plaza shortly after the murder and subsequently arrested. His sentencing was held last Thursday.

Ward said, “Working with my office and my prosecutors and the sheriff’s detectives then appeared before the grand jury to charge the guy. He was charged with first degree murder. This wasn’t the first person he murdered. He murdered an elderly man for his Social Security money back when he was 16 or 18 and did 25 or 30 years in prison I believe in Idaho.”

The jury decided on a 12-nothing guilty verdict and unanimously recommended the death penalty.  

Ward said, “So he got the death penalty, he got two life sentences and a five year sentence. He’s on his way to the death row. He specifically told the judge that if he got convicted, he wanted the death penalty, because he had done 25 or 30 years in prison before and he didn’t want to do that again.”

Could there be an appeal in this case?

Ward said, “I don’t know that this guy’s going to cooperate. I don’t know. The lawyers that will come and see him, they’ll try and talk him into doing some appeals, but he said he wants to die. So I hope they honor his wishes, because the last thing we need is some liberal getting into office and letting this guy back out again. I mean, it’s obvious. He killed once, he killed twice. He’ll do it again. The sheriff still thinks that there may be some murders out there that he committed that they don’t even know about yet.”

Homicide cases in Monroe County are quite rare.

Ward said, “For the longest time, we didn’t have any. There was a couple around Irma, and then after COVID, we had a couple of domestic and drug related homicides. We have a little bit more than we normally experience. Like Sheriff Ramsay says, it’s usually domestic related, drug related for homeless or homeless.”

Ghost guns have come back under fire recently.

Ward said, “Those people if they’re going to carry guns, people need to control their tempers. I don’t have a problem prosecuting people who shoot people. I try to get them as much time as possible. It’s your right to carry a gun here in the state of Florida. I think it’s because people can’t control their anger or their tempers, so the next thing you know, they break out a gun and start blasting away. That’s going to be your last act of freedom. Because we’re going to try and keep you in jail for as long as we possibly can and get you the strongest sentence we could possibly get you.”

Drugs continue to be a problem in this country. A new one is Xylazine.

Ward said, “They call it Tranq. They’re buying that with a number of the drugs these days and if it gets combined with fentanyl, the NARCAN is not going to work if you’re ODing. So you’re going to die. Xylazine is a drug that veterinarians use to sedate animals. They’re mixing that in there and it even rots away their skin. You’ll see them on the streets with big holes in their faces or their hands, just rotting from the use of that drug. The drug is responsible for a number of overdoses already. We’re researching whether or not it’s on the books here in Florida. If it’s not, we want to pursue some type of legislation to outlaw that stuff. Keep it off our streets.”

With lobster mini season on the way, there will likely be resource violations.

Ward said, “The FWC and the sheriff’s office have captured a couple of people already trying to get ahead of the game. So I look forward to seeing those people in court and see how they react when they hear that we want some jail time for that.”