Orlando, Florida: 46-year-old Anthony John Todt was convicted by a jury on Thursday, April 13 for the murder of his wife, three children, and the family dog.
After a short recess, Circuit Judge Keith A. Carsten moved on to sentencing.
Several victim impact statements were read and then Todt was allowed a chance to address the court.
During his statement, he repeatedly asserted that he "did not do this."
"This was a personal catastrophe in everybody's life in my family, including myself," Law and Crime quoted him as saying. "I maintain my innocence."
Despite his assertions, the jury had been shown a videotaped confession in which Todt told detectives from the Osecola County Sheriff's Office that he had suffocated his 4-year-old daughter because "I needed to save her soul," claiming "I wanted her to be with us."
While speaking with detectives, Todt told them that his wife was chronically ill and had been watching videos which spoke of a coming apocalypse and offered means of attaining "salvation." Todt alleged that he and his wife had spoken to their children about the family dying together in order to go to "the other side" together.
Todt told the detectives that the children had said, "We don't want you to die, we want to die with you."
"We had salvation in mind," Todt told the detectives. "We love our kids."
Despite allegedly having a pact to all die together, Todt lived with the bodies of his family for approximately three weeks according to investigators. The bodies of his wife and three children were all found together in the master bedroom with rosaries in their hands.
"A jury has unanimously determined after listening to the evidence that you, Anthony John Todt, are a destroyer of worlds," Carsten stated before sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole, with an additional year sentence for killing the family dog.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. In documents filed with the court the prosecution expressed "serious concerns regarding the mental health of the defendant" according to WESH.
Mental health is one of the reasons allegedly behind the appeal that has been filed by Todt's attorneys. Other points of contention are photographs of the victims that were shown to the jury and Todt's initial confession being allowed.
The notice of appeal was filed on Friday, April 22, 2022.