Derius Glover, 22, was found guilty of burglary of a dwelling with a battery Tuesday by a six-member jury.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours before reaching the decision. After hearing the verdict, Glover put his head down on the desk, then looked on as many of his supporters in the gallery broke down in tears.
Prosecutor Rob Lewis asked Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. to hold a separate hearing to discuss Glover’s status as a prison release re-offender. Glover will be sentenced on May 23 and faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
After two days of sometimes-conflicting testimony, jurors were asked not only to decide if Glover burglarized and battered a man, but also if it was Derius Glover or his younger brother, William Glover, who struck a man over the head with a baseball bat at a Spring Hill house party that started on May 5, 2012 and continued past midnight.
The party — celebrating Cinco de Mayo and a belated-birthday — was a smaller gathering of co-workers and close friends, said homeowner and host Ryan Diffendal. Glover’s brother, William, arrived at the party with a mutual friend with severely sagging pants far below his waist. Brian Hudson, a guest, “very politely” asked the man to pull up his pants, according to another witness, Samantha Blasius, but the man became enraged at the request, starting a verbal fight on the porch that turned physical on a nearby street.
Blasius, who lived at the Chamber Court residence, said William Glover waved something that looked like a gun, and later told her he planned to return to the party and shoot at the house. Blasius begged William Glover not to, because her son’s window faced the street, and Glover assured her that her “baby daddy won’t be touched.”
Blasius said that William Glover stayed at his house, and she saw Derius Glover and three other men get into a car and leave. Blasius said she didn’t see any of them bring a bat.
When asked to identify Derius Glover, Blasius looked around the courtroom, into the gallery first, then at the table with the defendant and his attorney, when prompted.
“No, I don’t think so,” Blasius said.
Sometime after midnight, Derius Glover returned to the house party with a bat, according to Hudson, asking who “jumped” his brother.
Hudson said Glover hit him once in the head with a baseball bat, and that he was hit repeatedly in a physical fight he estimated lasted five minutes.
When asked to explain some discrepancies in a sworn statement he gave shortly after the attack, and one given two months later, Hudson said “I had a few drinks and was hit in the head … I was jumped.”
Defense attorney Howard Currie asked for the case to be thrown out twice on Tuesday, saying the conflicting testimonies did not satisfy the state’s burden of proof necessary to prosecute Glover.
Assistant State Attorney Rob Lewis said both Hudson and Diffendal separately identified Derius Glover in a photo lineup. Merritt said most cases have some degree of conflict in testimony, and denied the requests, saying the matter is up to the jury to decide.
Several witnesses, including Glover’s mother and sister, said in the days following the fight William Glover admitted that it was he, and not Derius, who hit Hudson over the head with a bat.
During closing arguments, Lewis relied on a PowerPoint presentation to cleanly recap the witnesses and their testimony over the past two days. One of the last questions Lewis asked was why William Glover would enter the house and yell “who jumped my brother?”
Currie advised the jurors “there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind at arriving at a verdict in this case,” and that his client’s brother, not Derius Glover, committed the crime.
Currie also suggested weak links between a L.A. Kings hat found at the scene and a photo retrieved from Facebook a few days later of Derius Glover wearing the hat. A DNA test was inconclusive, and Currie said the hat could have belonged to anyone.
William Glover, the defendant’s brother, was arrested in October and December of 2011 on battery charges, according to Hernando County Jail records. The 20-year-old was picked up on burglary and battery charges in June 2012. The state is pursuing a principal to burglary charge against the younger Glover, who is set to appear in court today.
Derius Glover was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for two charges: attempted sudden snatching without a weapon and robbery with a weapon (not deadly), according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He was incarcerated from October of 2008 through August of 2011.
Jail records show Derius Glover was arrested for battery in October 2011. A month before the alleged battery, Glover was booked in the Hernando County Jail on two battery to commit felony charges and one charge of cocaine possession, and released on $9,000 bond the same day.
Derius Glover was picked up for the May 6 fight on May 17, 2012, and has been held on the charges of armed burglary of a structure, battery to commit a felony and cocaine possession on no bond.