The Wrongful Conviction of Anthony Broom
24 Hours Before
Charlotte and Anthony had a friendly and sexual relationship. Although they were seeing other people, Anthony and Charlotte still enjoyed each other’s company. Charlotte slept over at Anthony’s apartment on Monday night, June 22, 1981. Before Charlotte left on Tuesday morning she asked Anthony to call her when he was done with his dinner plans that night. Anthony had some clients flying into town to inspect an electrical job that he had just completed and was taking them out to dinner and drinks on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday night, Charlotte went out with her friend, Mary Prochaska. Mary testified that Charlotte picked her up at her house around 7:30 p.m. They went to a bar for a drink or two and then at 8:45 p.m. they went to a friend’s house for dinner and watched pornographic movies. Charlotte and Mary returned to the El-Bo Room bar around 10:45 p.m. that evening. Mary testified that Charlotte was upset that evening and they discussed this over another drink. The two left the bar around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, June 24, 1981. Charlotte dropped Mary off at her house around 1:15 a.m.
Around 1:50 a.m. that morning, after Anthony dropped his colleagues off at their hotel room, he called Charlotte at her house, as she had asked him to do the morning before. Charlotte’s mother answered the phone and told Anthony she did not believe that Charlotte was home. Anthony apologized for waking her and hung up the phone. He then went to sleep.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Anthony was awoken by Charlotte knocking on his door. He let her in and then he lied back down and fell back asleep. He was re-awoken by the sharp metallic sound of the door being closed. He got up and went to the door, opened it, and found Charlotte standing outside. She told him that if he was just going to sleep, she’d go home. He invited her back in and said he’d get a Coke from the vending machine so he could mix them a drink.
As Anthony left the room, he recalls Charlotte was removing her blouse and bra. The vending machines at the Holiday Inn in Winter Haven, Florida were near the front of the hotel, while Anthony’s room was in the rear. It took him about 10 minutes to make the round trip walk to and from the Coke machine. When he returned to the room, Charlotte was on his bed, naked from the waist up, with her jeans still buttoned and her belt buckled, with a single gunshot wound to the left side of her head. Her left arm was hanging off of the bed and the gun was on the floor beneath her left hand.