Photo for Headline Surfer / Christopher Trull, the middle of the three Oak Hill brothers, who was the first to be released from prison in the fatal attacks on a group of Spring Breakers more than a decade decade ago, was sent back to prison Wednesday for six years for violating his probation by absconding. His brothers, Jonathan and Joshua, have remained in prison.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Christopher Trull is back in prison, where he belongs, according to the prosecutor who presided over the sensational murder trial for which he was found to be the least culpable among his three brothers in the slayings of two Maryland Spring Breakers and the near killing of a third a decade ago.
"Christopher Trull is a natural born killer," said prosecutor Noah McKinnon, even though a jury found him guilty of lesser included charged of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. "I'm very pleased he's back in jail. The public is safer with him in custody."
Circuit Judge J. David Walsh sentenced Trull on Wednesday to six years and four months in prison on the absonding charge after failing to report to his probation officer more than three years ago. And though he was given credit of 1,065 days, he still faces charges in Nassau County of aggravated battery for allegedly pulling hair out of the head of a former girlfriend. If convicted of that felony, his time in prison could double.
Trull, 35, was initially released from prison in 2002, but violated his probation the first time by testing positive for marijuana and was sent back. When he got out three years ago, he absconded, but was apprehended in Escambia County earlier this year.
Gain time has previously benefited Trull and hasd he completed his initial probation, he would have won his freedom outright net year.
Though he was sentenced to five years and one month in prison for his conviction aggravated assault with a weapon in the April 16, 2008, bloodbath at the Ocean Palms Beach Club in New Smyrna Beach, he was released on probation six months into the sentence while awaiting capital murder charges, along with his brothers.
The deadly attacks were in retaliation for an earlier fight baby brother Joshua Trull lost when he objected to a resort guest's comments about his baggy pants. Joshua Trull and another friend initially went there to retrieve a $15 ring from a 15-year-old Michigan girl they met the previous day on the beach when three Maryland Spring Breakers got the best of them in a fight when they refused to leave.
Joshua Trull returned with his older brothers and four others, carrying knives, baseball bats and a cueball in a sock in under the cover of darkness near the resort's pool.
Matthew Wichita, 21, also beaten with a baseball bat, and Kevans Hall II, 23, both died from multiple stab wounds while Seth Qubeck, 21, survived nearly two dozen stab wounds.
Jonathan Trull, the eldest brother and ringleader of the bunch, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, and Joshua Trull received 15 years, but could be released after serving 10 years with gain time. Four others got smaller prison sentences for their roles in the carnage.
The Trulls initially faced the death penalty when they went on trial, but because of the complexities of case, the jury found the eldest Trull, Jonathan, the most culpable, even though the state deemed Christopher to be as violent. Ultimately only Chritopher Trull went into the penalty phase for consideration of the death penalty, but the jury recommended two life sentences instead and Circuit Judge Shawn Briese agreed.
To this day, New Smyrna Beach police Detective Dan Kennedy stands by the state's evidence against Christopher Trull.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he killed those boys," Kennedy said.
Even Jonathan Trull's attorney argued in his appeal that Christopher Trull was the true killer.
"Chris Trull killed these people of his own volition," attorney Gerard Keating insisted in his failed oral argument to the 5th District Court of Appeal.
A trial witness, whose testimony was not allowed to be given to the jury because of questions of her mental competency, testified outside the presence of the jury that she overheard a conversation between Christopher Trull and a friend at a New Smyrna Beach restaurant the day after the killings: ''I stabbed the (expletive) in the face and felt it hit teeth and ripped it out and stabbed him in the throat."