From Tallahassee Democrat

by Dave Bruns Associate Editor

Did Florida get the right man in Boca murder?

First, I want to make it clear that i support the death penalty. I don't shed tears over the deaths of killers.

But in the murder case of Paul William Scott, I've always wondered whether the state of Florida got the right man. Scott's murder case has been in the news lately. This week, Florida Supreme Court granted him a two-day stay of execution.

Scott was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. I covered the case for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

From the beginning, something about the case didn't add up to me. First, Kondian was a bona fide tough guy. He was muscular, tense, edgy, with a history of falling afoul of the law and a background as a male hustler.

Scott was different; dreamy, a drifter, easily led. Son of a hard-drinking Navy sailor in San Diego, Scott had had a stormy early life.

After one particularly brutal argument with his wife, his sailor father - about to retire from the Navy - swore he'd take little Paul and his sister off to a new life on a North Florida farm he'd bought.

Dad even made Paul give up the family dog that the boy had adopted, saying that the pet couldn't make the long trip to Florida. The father took the dog out and killed it. Next day, the kids sat on the front porch, suitcases packed, and waited for a father who never showed up.

Scott drifted into a life as a thief, but rarely was there violence. One exception came just after he'd turned 18; he and a partner made a quick decision to rob a store. The partner shot a clerk dead. Scott went to prison. When he got out, he told friends he was moving to Florida.

But no Panhandle farm awaited Paul Scott. Instead he ended up in Fort Lauderdale, hanging out with a tough crowd at beach front bars. One of that crowd was Kondian.

I believe that the person who killed Alessi should go to the electric chair. But who really beat the florist to death? And with what?

Scott's trial attorney, George Barr, argued that Alessi may have been beaten to death with a champagne bottle. (The murder weapon was never conclusively identified.)

Police also found three kinds of blood in the house. Most was Alessi's. Some was questionable; it could have been Kondian's, Scott's or Alessi's. (No DNA testing in those days, folks.)

But some blood was Kondian's. It was found in the track of a shower door, where it might have dripped from a cut on a killer's hand - a cut created by a broken champagne bottle. Both Kondian and Scott had time to heal before being arrested; neither had cuts on their hands.

Nobody can prove Kondian is the killer.

But I wonder....