James "Skip" Scandirito was a former Macomb County Judge who was found dismembered. His son, Jimmy Scandirito II, was found guilty of dismembering his father's dead body, but was found not guilty of the first-degree premeditated murder charge. His attorney, Howard Poznanski believes his client should receive his father's estate worth $800,000, avoiding application of the Florida Slayer Statute.
On March 28, 2018, Jimmy was at his fathers' home in Florida. Jimmy said they were drinking and snorting cocaine, but cocaine was not found in Skip's system during his autopsy. Jimmy stated he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and when he came back in, his father was dead. Instead of calling the police, Jimmy went to Home Depot in his father's car, claiming that his judgement was clouded because of the alcohol and drugs. At Home Depot, he bought a hand cart. Over the course of the next few days Jimmy purchased Pine-Sol, trash bags, duct tape, paper towels, a mop, and a 12-pack of beer, all on his father's credit card. On April 1st, Jimmy reported his father missing.
On April 3rd, police officers searched Skip's house with a warrant and found drops of blood on the hand truck, among other items. Jimmy also cleaned a certain part of the garage so meticulously that it concerned the officers. The officers followed Jimmy to an abandoned golf club early in the morning and saw Jimmy throw a suitcase into the dumpster. The suitcase contained maggots and bloody clothing. At the golf course, investigators found Skip in two different 30-gallon trash bags, his head and arms were missing.
Due to the condition of the body and missing body parts, medical experts were not able to determine a cause of death. With the prosecutor only charging first degree murder and not offering any lesser options, the jury, after 10 hours of deliberation, only convicted Jimmy for dismemberment of the body. The jury found Jimmy not guilty of the premeditated murder count, stunning the prosecution. Jimmy has been in jail since he was convicted about 14 months ago, and his lawyer believes that he has been in jail long enough. Jimmy and his lawyer have now filed in probate court in an attempt to collect his father's inheritance.
Similar to Michigan, Florida has a Slayer Statute that is designed to prevent killers from receiving a payment as a result of their crimes. Howard Poznanski, Jimmy's lawyer, believes Jimmy will receive his inheritance. Despite the fact that the jury did not find Jimmy guilty of his father's murder, the probate court could still find that Jimmy was his father's killer by a preponderance of the evidence, the legal standard that applies in the probate case. If so, Jimmy receives nothing; If not, Jimmy will inherit from his father's estate.
Breeda K. O'Leary is Fausone Bohn's estate planning and probate attorney. Contact Breeda at (248) 380-9976 or [email protected] with your estate planning and probate questions.