BROOKSVILLE – As the jurors filed back in with a verdict, Raymond Carter kissed his hand and touched a framed photo of his mother, Maria Osterhoudt, sitting by his feet.
A few minutes later, Carter walked out of Judge Anthony Tatti’s courtroom, carrying Osterhoudt’s photo.
“It’s not what we came here for,” Carter said.
Six women jurors found Alan Osterhoudt Jr. guilty of manslaughter, a lesser charge than the second-degree murder conviction sought by the state.
The murder charge could have sent Osterhoudt to prison for 25 years to life. The manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 30 years, but has no minimum mandatory sentence, said Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto.
Back on the evening of Feb. 25, 2012, Osterhoudt dialed 911 from the couple’s home at 7190 Raymond Place in Spring Hill, and confessed to a dispatcher he had just shot his wife.
“I am afraid I have done the most heinous thing that I have ever done in my life,” Osterhoudt said on the call. Later, while getting into a police car in handcuffs, Osterhoudt was overheard saying “my life is over.”
During the State’s closing argument, Prosecutor Bill Catto questioned why Osterhoudt never asked for help for his wife during the 911 call.
On Wednesday, Osterhoudt testified that when he argued with his wife, they tended to go to their separate areas in the house to resolve the dispute.
“Maybe he was tired of going to his corner,” Catto said.
Catto argued the defendant, who had a concealed weapons permit, was too familiar with guns to just shoot at a shadowy figure he expected to be an intruder. Further, Catto said given Osterhoudt’s version of the events, he would have shot into the wall, and not into the back of his wife’s head “in cold blood.”
“She didn’t know what hit her, she never did,” Catto said.
Osterhoudt’s defense attorney, Kenneth Foote, said during his closing a “pile” of evidence collected against his client doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guilty.
Foote’s approach throughout the trial suggested Osterhoudt was improperly detained while detectives built their case around the 911 call. The defense maintained Osterhoudt believed his wife, whom he had known for 20 years, was an intruder. Osterhoudt said after hearing his dog barking and a loud crash in the bathroom, he picked up his Taurus .38 special revolver and went to investigate. When he turned the corner, the gun fired, and then Osterhoudt realized he had shot his wife.
“Just because someone is dead doesn’t mean something criminal happened,” Foote said.
After the trial, Carter called the defense’s accident theory (bull) and said Osterhoudt took a life, and should be punished for it.
Carter said he wished jurors knew that at the time of the murder, Osterhoudt had two safes full of guns and a copious amount of ammunition. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement specialist testified she could not confirm the bullet lodged in Maria Osterhoudt’s head came from Alan Osterhoudt’s gun. Carter said Osterhoudt might have been making his own ammunition, which is why the projectile recovered was so “frayed.”
“They didn’t have any clue,” Carter said.
Osterhoudt was out on bond during the trial. The 63-year-old was taken into custody after being adjudicated guilty.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 29.