by Robert A. Waters
On February 8, a stone-cold killer met his maker. Thomas Anthony Wyatt, who fled a work crew while serving a 15 year sentence for kidnapping and assault, spear-headed one of Florida's most notorious murder sprees.
Florida Supreme Court documents describe the Vero Beach Domino’s Pizza murders: "On May 13, 1988, Wyatt and his codefendant, Michael Lovette, escaped from a North Carolina prison road gang and fled to Florida, engaging in a spree of crimes along the way, including the murders of three Domino's Pizza employees in Vero Beach and the murder of Cathy Nydegger near Tampa…
"The evidence presented at Wyatt's trial on the Domino's murder counts revealed the following. On May 16, 1988, Wyatt and Lovette stole a 1983 Cadillac Seville with a red-burgundy body and white canvas top in Jacksonville, Florida, and then drove down the east coast of Florida to the Vero Beach/Yeehaw Junction area near State Road 60.
"At some time between 11:00 and 11:45 p.m. on May 17, both men entered a Vero Beach Domino's Pizza restaurant armed with handguns. While Lovette held William Edwards, the store manager, at gunpoint in the office until the time lock on the store's safe opened, Wyatt took Frances Edwards, who was William Edwards' wife, and Matthew Bornoosh, a deliveryman, to the restroom in the back of the restaurant. Wyatt forced Bornoosh to remove his Domino's shirt, and Lovette put it on.
"During the course of the robbery, Wyatt raped Frances Edwards. After the safe opened, the men retrieved money from inside the safe, and Wyatt shot all three victims to death: William Edwards was shot in the head and chest; Frances Edwards was shot in the head; and Matthew Bornoosh was shot in the left ear and head…"
The take in the robbery was $1,153.00, less than $400 for each life.
Wyatt and Lovette traveled across the state to Tampa where they met Nydegger in a bar. They kidnapped her, and drove her to Indian County where Wyatt shot her in the head, killing her.
Overwhelming evidence, including semen inside Frances Edwards and bullets matching the gun used to murder Nydegger, linked Wyatt to the crimes. He received a death sentence, while Lovette got ten life sentences.
Before the crime spree, Wyatt had 26 arrests and convictions.
He died at Union Correctional Institution, near Raiford. Wyatt was 49, and a Florida Department of Corrections press release stated that his death was due to “natural causes.”
A predator in the true sense of the word, he brought misery to almost everyone he met.
On January 17, Florida Death Row inmate William Van Poyck wrote that “my old friend Tom—just 4 months ago had a hale and hardy soul, now a mere envelope of cancer-gnawed flesh and bones —was removed from his cell by wheelchair, too weak to offer anything but meager protest, and transferred to the one place he dreaded going to, our notoriously filthy, blood spattered clinic holding cell.”
Sounds a lot worse than merely going to sleep on a gurney.
What goes around comes around.