Strunk’s murder conviction expected to be re-examined

March 30, 2017

By John Raffel

Osceola County prosecuting attorney Tony Badovinac continues to settle into his new role which he was appointed to earlier this year and is waiting for various challenges.

The challenges include an expected upcoming hearing regarding an Osceola County man convicted nearly 30 years ago of first-degree murder and felony firearms for the murder of his father.

Karl Strunk

Karl Strunk

Karl Strunk could have his life sentence re-examined at a future court hearing.

In November, then-Osceola County prosecutor Tyler Thompson confirmed to the Marion Press that in July, he filed a motion stating his intention to uphold the life without parole conviction for Karl Strunk. Strunk was convicted of the crime on Dec. 17 1987, when he was 17, and a month later he was sentenced in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Badovinac was appointed to replace Thompson, who was appointed as probate judge.

Published reports say that Strunk testified during his trial that he shot his father twice. The body of 43-year-old Rudi Strunk of LeRoy was found stuffed into a 55-gallon steel drum, which had been welded shut. Karl Strunk, 16, at the time, was arrested and charged.

But published reports previously revealed that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012 ruled that juveniles should not face the possibility of mandatory life sentences. Four years later, the Court ruled the 2012 decision should apply retroactively to those already in prison.

Published reports indicate Strunk’s sentence is only to be reviewed following the court decision, and any decision determining Strunk’s’ release or continued imprisonment would have to be made by the court system.

Badovinac provided an update on the case a few days ago to the Marion Press.

“I got an inquiry on that from the prosecutor’s association,” Badovinac said. “They have discussed it with a couple of senators. I just put the finishing touches on a sentencing memorandum from our office that we’re asking that the life sentence continue. We’re waiting to hear from the defense attorney. They hired some experts and I suppose they’ll say he’s rehabilitated and needs to get out.

“It hasn’t been set for a hearing yet. I would think it will be coming up shortly. It was way back in August when they approved the funds for them to hire someone (on Strunk’s behalf).”

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