My name is Donna Bryan.
On July 26, 2014, my pregnant daughter Katherine Bryan Hoover and her new husband were visiting William DeHayes at his residence in Brooksville, Florida. While Katherine was sitting down at DeHayes’ dining room table having something to eat, he brought some firearms out to show her husband. DeHayes began to play with one of these weapons, an antique revolver, quick-drawing it like cowboys do in westerns. As he was doing so, the revolver discharged. The round struck my daughter in the temple, killing both her and my unborn grandson, Rehlin Lee Hoover.
Somehow, Dehayes was never arrested, detained or prosecuted for the crime of negligent manslaughter, even though he admitted to a detective that he had taken Methadone, Lortab’s and Sonoma shortly before getting his firearms out that night. Additionally, this was not his only instance of acting negligently with firearms. On March 17, 2016, DeHayes was arrested (and later indicted) after firing a 12-gauge shotgun in a mobile home park that evening while in the presence of a teenager. When police questioned him on that occasion, he admitted he had been drinking Crown Royal and beer since noon.
I have studied my daughter’s case closely and am asking the Hernando County state attorney and assistant state attorney to bring negligent manslaughter charges against William DeHayes. I have had several criminal lawyers, former prosecutors, and a private investigator informally review the case on a pro bono basis and tell me that DeHayes should be prosecuted for manslaughter.
Unfortunately, my campaign for justice has taken a huge toll on me financially and emotionally. I paid for three funerals in 2014 and am now raising Katherine’s surviving son without any financial support. The third funeral was for my granddaughter. My daughter-in-law went into premature labor due to the family tragedy. My granddaughter was born and fought to live, but lost that battle two months later.
I can no longer work because I have congestive heart failure, severe osteoarthritis, and bulging/herniated discs in my back. My husband suffered a stroke and now has seizures. I am now bankrupt and cannot pay for my campaign to obtain justice for Katherine and Rehlin.
Please, if you can, make a contribution here today so I can do the following:
• Hire an attorney to prepare a Writ of Mandamus and file it with the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which will force the Hernando County State Attorney to either file charges of manslaughter or explain to the appellate judges why he will not do so. The total cost for the attorney and filing is $5,750.
• Print out and deliver a petition I have prepared to state legislators at the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. You can read the petition here . It now has more than 15, 700 signatures. Printing the petition for delivery will cost $3,000. Because I do not have a working car, round-trip travel to Tallahassee will cost me an additional $500.
When William DeHayes killed my daughter and grandson, he killed a big part of me, too. I cannot rest until I see justice done for them. They deserve that much. So does Katherine’s surviving son, Nicholas, who is still in therapy to deal with this trauma.
Thank you so much for any help that you can provide.
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