TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida death row inmate is suing to get a vintage Chevy pickup owned by the couple he is convicted of killing.
William Deparvine was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing Richard and Karla Van Dusen. His lawsuit over their car has now dragged on for two years, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
The dispute is over a red 1971 Chevrolet Cheyenne truck Van Dusen bought and refurbished in the late 1990s after he divorced. He went to weekend car shows with it and won trophies. After he remarried, however, he decided to sell the truck, and Deparvine responded to a classified ad he took out.
On Nov. 26, 2003, the day after Deparvine met with Van Dusen, 58, and his wife, 49, their bodies were found in a dirt driveway in northwest Hillsborough County. Both had been shot in the head.
Authorities said Deparvine planned to rob and kill the couple but wanted to make it look like he bought the truck and someone else shot them. He typed up a bill of sale indicating the truck had been sold for $6,500 and signed Richard Van Dusen's name.
At trial, Deparvine, 57, claimed he was innocent, but jurors found him guilty and sentenced him to death.
From his cell, he has claimed the bill of sale proves he owns the truck, and he has filed pages of handwritten court pleadings in his case.
"I will have to give him credit," said Robert Vessel, an attorney for Richard Van Dusen's daughter. "He's one of the best jailhouse lawyers I've seen."
It may not be enough to get the truck back. Van Dusen's daughter said her cousin helped her sell it soon after Deparvine's conviction. She was too scared to sell the truck on her own because of what happened to her father.