Palmetto doctor fighting for wife's cause

6:35 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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Palmetto, Florida - It has been more than a year and a half since the murder of Kathleen Briles.

The fun-loving mother and wife, who loved to rescue animals and was going back to school, was found on her living room floor gagged, bound and beaten to death.

Kathleen's husband says his heart is still broken. "The pain is not as sharp. The emotions are easier to control."

Her killer, he says, ruined his life and countless others.

"The one thing that doesn't leave is my absolute disdain and disgust for the person who did this.  That's never going to change," Dr. Briles says.

Kathleen was found by her husband, Dr. James Briles, after returning from finishing rounds at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Sadly, Dr. Briles found Kathleen in a pool of blood on their living room floor.

She was bound with duct tape.

Detectives said she had been bludgeoned to death by an iron sewing machine.

In August 2009, fear took over Manatee and Sarasota counties as Delmer Smith, the alledged killer charged with these crimes, was on the loose.

He is said to have also brutally raped numerous women in a shocking crime spree prior to allegedly killing Kathleen Briles.

Dr. James Briles and his three children - Kristin, a nurse - Calvin, a medical student and Curtis, a young Iraq War veteran serving in the military at the time of his mother's murder - want justice.

They are not just content with seeking justice for the accused serial rapist and killer now facing the death penalty for Kathleen's murder.

They want tougher laws for pawn shops.

Calvin Briles says, "It just doens't make sense, we're in the year 2011, why don't we take this paper system and make it electronic and then we can make it statewide. It only makes perfect sense."

Right now the state of Maryland has a system in place that's considered the gold standard so to speak, of how pawn shops are interacting with police depts, it keeps them in closer contact than any other state in America.

Tristan O'Connell buys and sells jewelry each day in Pinellas Park. He moved here from Maryland and agrees that the pawn shops laws need to be stronger.

O'Connell told us, "Coming from Maryland where we have an online system, you know, it took what we had on sheets and put it into the system itself."

 

 

So, the family has collected 10,000 signatues, but still need 15,000 more. 

The Briles family, along with nearly every law enforcement agency in the state, including the Florida Sheriff's Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit, lawmakers, thousands of citizens, as well as pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers, believe that Delmer Smith may have been stopped sooner with tougher pawn shops.

The Briles family, along with nearly every law enforcement agency in the state, including the Florida Sheriff's Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit, lawmakers, thousands of citizens, as well as pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers, believe that Delmer Smith may have been stopped sooner with tougher pawn shops.

The family is seeking change that will help law enforcement track these dangerous criminals before they hurt more innocent families.

The family's effort, known as Kathleen's Cause, has worked to submit SB 1662 (Bennett) and HB 1323 (Rouson, Steube, Boyd) to amend current pawnshop and secondhand dealer laws.

SB 1662 and HB 1323 have been filed and referred to committee, but have yet to be place on the committee's agendas. Kathleen's Family and Law Enforcement are in need of statewide momentum to let legislators know how important this is to the citizens of Florida.

If the bill is not acted on by the House and Senate this week, the bill may not progress this session.

For more details, please see the attached legislative summary and go to www.kathleenscause.com.

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