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Toilet Tank Lid Used As A Weapon
January 27, 1999; Florida (Associated Press):

In Bartow, a man guilty of killing an elderly Illinois couple at a central Florida trailer park was sentenced to death. Circuit Judge Robert Pyle also sentenced Thomas Davis Woodel to 2 life prison terms Tuesday for burglary and robbery, other charges he was convicted of in the murder case.

Woodel, 28, admitted killing Clifford and Bernice Moody at their winter home in Outdoor Resorts in Loughman, about 25 miles southwest of Orlando. He said he had been drinking the night before the murder on Dec. 31, 1996.

Woodel said he stopped to ask Mrs. Moody, 74, what time it was when she "panicked" and came at him with a knife. Mrs. Moody was stabbed 56 times and hit on the head twice with a toilet tank lid. Her 79-year-old husband was stabbed 8 times when he came home after the attack. The couple from Kankakee, Ill., died at the scene.

"No punishment equals what he did to them," said Mary Ann Richard, one of the victims' 6 children. "It is just a shame that the taxpayers will have to pay now for so many years of appeals."

Woodel, formerly of Michigan, had been living with his sister in the same park. He worked as a dishwasher at a nearby Pizza Hut.

After his 15-day trial ended in December, a 12-member jury convicted him of 2 counts of 1st-degree murder and recommended that the judge sentence him to die.

Woodel's attorneys had asked the jury to recommend a life sentence because Woodel was intoxicated when he killed the couple and he had no significant criminal history. They also argued that he was neglected by his parents.

The Moodys had been married 55 years and had spent winters in Florida for 20 years.

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