Dane Abdool handmade card
Dane Abdool handmade card
Handmade card, signed on the inside.
The evidence presented at Abdool's trial revealed that on the evening of February 24, 2006, 17-year-old Amelia Sookdeo was at the home of her best friend, Natasha Jagllal, when she told Natasha that she planned to meet 19-year-old Dane Abdool later that night and have some drinks with him. Around 10 p.m., Natasha's mother drove Amelia home and watched her walk in the door. Amelia's mother confirmed that Amelia came home around 10; however, the next morning when she went to Amelia's room, she found that Amelia was gone, and her bedroom window was open.
Earlier on the morning of February 25, 2006, at around 4:15 a.m., a police officer spotted a small fire off the side of a remote area of State Road 545. When the officer pulled over, she realized that it was a human body on fire, but it was not recognizable, and the officer could not determine the race or sex of the victim. Subsequent DNA testing confirmed that the burned body was that of Amelia Sookdeo.
According to the medical examiner, Amelia's body was badly burned or charred, and she died of conflagration. The fire that killed her was propelled by an accelerant, and the burns were consistent with having most of the accelerant pooled in the lower abdomen and upper thigh area. The autopsy revealed soot in her lungs meaning Amelia was alive and able to pull in air while her body was burning. The expert also testified that after she inhaled the burning air, Amelia could have remained conscious for seconds to a couple of minutes.
A senior crime lab analyst with the State Fire Marshal's arson laboratory testified that all of Amelia's clothing, including her jeans, shirt, panties, bra, sock, and shoe, contained gasoline. He also stated that in order for the clothing to ignite, the flame would have had to be within inches of, if not in contact with, the accelerant. The analyst further testified that he located two burned trails of ignitable liquid (“trailers”), one leading from Amelia's torso to an area of dirt and rocks, and one leading from her body to where the remains of the gas can were found. There was also a trailer leading from the side of her face down towards her thigh.
Further investigation revealed that tire tracks at the scene were made by a tire having a distinct and very specific pattern, and, based upon the individual characteristics and wear, were determined to have been made by the tires on Abdool's Volkswagen Jetta. A sneaker that was later determined to have belonged to Amelia 2 was found at the scene, as was a green Bic lighter, a gas lid, and a burned and melted red plastic gas container with its spout removed. Investigators also found a pair of Abdool's gloves and some pieces of duct tape, one of which contained a yellow hoop earring and strands of Amelia's hair.3
Police eventually obtained a search warrant for Abdool's car and took him to the police station for questioning. The entire interview was taped and was played for the jury at trial. On the tape, Abdool first stated that he had not seen Amelia for a while before she disappeared. Abdool admitted that he had had a prior relationship with Amelia but said he was trying to disassociate himself from her because he had another girlfriend. He also stated that Amelia “just keeps calling, calling, [and] calling” him even though he always tells her that he is busy.
As the interview progressed, however, Abdool admitted that he was responsible for Amelia's death. Abdool told the officers that Amelia called him, maybe that Friday, and asked him if he could get her some alcohol, which he did. Then, later that night, after 11 p.m., Abdool parked by her house and waited for her to come out. After about ten minutes, she came out and they went to his house. Abdool said Amelia had only a few sips of alcohol and then “started acting stupid.” After that, they had sex but she was still “acting stupid.” He told the police: “I was like-- she got me pissed off. I was, like, you know what, just, you know, put your clothes back on, let's go. And she's laying on the couch and I'm like, just put your clothes back on. Let's get.”
Abdool stated that when they got in the car, Amelia was yelling and told Abdool to take her home. When he started to turn the car, she said: “No, don't take me home. Drop me on the side of the road somewhere․ I'll walk.” When Abdool asked where she wanted him to drop her, she said, “Just drive.” Abdool explained that Amelia was upset with him because of how he was treating her and because their relationship was only based on sex.
At some point, she again told him to pull over and said that she would walk home. So Abdool said he pulled over, got out, and pulled Amelia out of the car. Abdool related that he was “really pissed off” because Amelia calls him every day and gets on his nerves. After he got her out of the car, he pulled out the duct tape and wrapped it around her. He then went to the back of his car and retrieved the gasoline and his gloves. As he pulled out the gasoline, Amelia said, “Oh, are you trying to kill me?” He then poured the gasoline on her, the two started wrestling, and Amelia fell down. As she got back up and came towards him, Abdool lit the lighter, and Amelia caught on fire.
The detectives then asked Abdool what happened when Amelia caught on fire, and Abdool answered that she was standing up and was “yelling and cursing and throwing her hands all over the place.” He said that her whole body was burning, and that she ran towards the car and hit the front fender. Abdool then started feeling burning on himself and he panicked, so he got in his car to go home. Abdool said he left Amelia on the side of the road while she was on fire. He did not try to put out the flames. Nor did he call for help. Abdool said Amelia did not do any damage to his car, but that he did take it through a car wash on his way home to get “it” off the car.
Detectives then asked Abdool about the duct tape. Abdool said that he wrapped the tape around her but that he was “just messing around with her.” Abdool further admitted that he purchased the gas, can, and duct tape earlier that evening. When detectives asked Abdool why he bought the duct tape, Abdool replied that he just wanted to scare her and let her know what it feels like right before you die so she would stop acting stupid. Abdool maintained that the whole thing was an accident and that he did not mean to do it. When the detectives asked him why he used gasoline, Abdool replied that was all he had.
Abdool also told one of his coworkers about his crime. Specifically, the coworker testified that Abdool told her that he and Amelia were fighting, he kicked her out of the car, put duct tape on her to scare her, and she yelled at him to “do it, do it, do it.” He said Amelia then gave him a lighter, which he only flicked to scare her, but that she came towards him and caught fire. He also stated that “a person can only go so far, can only take so much.”
Two other acquaintances of Abdool's testified that several months before the murder, Abdool asked them to kill Amelia or her unborn baby.4 First, Julian Pinnock testified that about five or six months before Abdool was arrested for Amelia's murder, a friend of his, Visham Adjoda, called him and said that Abdool wanted to meet with him. Pinnock explained that the two had never met although Pinnock knew of Abdool because they attended the same high school. Pinnock stated that he and Adjoda met with Abdool, and Abdool told him that he was having problems because he had a fiancé and Amelia was pregnant. Pinnock testified that Abdool said he wanted to kill her and offered Pinnock money to do it for him, but Pinnock refused.
Next, Visham Adjoda testified that Abdool came to him and Pinnock about Amelia's pregnancy. Adjoda, who was sixteen at the time, stated that Abdool said he wanted to get rid of Amelia's baby and that he wanted Adjoda to do it for him. When he refused, Adjoda said Abdool just laughed.
Finally, Mickey Budhoo, the cousin of Abdool's then current girlfriend, testified that about two or three weeks before Amelia's death, Abdool told him that Amelia was pregnant and that he was afraid it would end his relationship with Budhoo's cousin. Abdool said that he wanted to cause a miscarriage by hitting Amelia in the stomach, and he mentioned two guys, one of whom was named Julian, that he would have do it for him.
Thereafter, the jury reached a verdict finding Abdool guilty of first-degree murder.
dane abdool florida death row
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