PHOTO PROVIDED Sue Normand identifies the defendant, Mark Koenigs,
in court last week as the man who shot her on Dec. 5 as she worked
in her packing and shipping store in Holmes Beach.
Mark Koenigs was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer with a firearm and one count of aggravated battery with a weapon last Friday. He could get life in prison.
Koenigs, 55, who owned a condo unit in south Bradenton Beach, was accused of walking into Island Mail and More the morning of Dec. 5 and shooting store owner Susan Normand. She still uses a cane to walk.
Normand testified that she knew Koenigs as a customer and when he came in that morning, she put a box on her counter. She took it and moved and felt something inside move. She told him that it needed more packing and he took the box and said he only wanted stamps. When she turned to the count, she saw a flash of light and felt pain.
A customer, Bruce Henke, heard the shot and heard Normand say she had been shot. He stepped over her as she had gone down to the floor behind her counter and call 911. He then helped apply pressure on her wound to stop the bleeding using paper towels.
Meanwhile, Koenigs ran from the store right after the shooting carrying the gun and walked south on the beach to just past Bridge Street before a Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Holmes Beach Police officer confronted him. They fired on him and he was hit three times after he refused to put down the weapon he was holding, the small handgun that was used in Norman’s shooting. Koenigs did not testify in his defense and the jury took about three and a half hours to deliberate before returning the verdict late in the afternoon.
"I am obviously pleased and relieved that that man will be going to jail for a long time," Normand said the day after the verdict was returned. "I feel he would be a danger if he was out of jail."
After the verdict, Normand hugged assistant state attorney Lauren Berns, who prosecuted the case with assistant state attorney Jamie Rosenberg.
"I think he did a great job," Normand said of Berns.
Koenigs, who sat in a wheelchair during the trial, expressed no emotion for most of the trial. He sat staring ahead or down at the desk most of the time. The only time he spoke was when Manatee County Circuit Judge Diane Moreland asked him if he was waiving his right to testify in his defense willingly.
Koenigs will be sentenced in six weeks. He could get life in prison because his conviction of three criminal acts using firearms qualifies him for such a sentence.
The jury asked to hear the testimony from the two law enforcement officers who brought Koenigs down on the beach before rendering its decision. The court reconvened and the transcript of the testimonies from Deputy Angel Buxeda and officer Mike Pilato was replayed.
Buxeda said he fired four shots at Koenigs when the suspect refused to put down his handgun. He said it looked like Koenigs was going to put it down when he dropped his shoulder, but he immediately went the other way and started to point it at the deputy.
Pilato said he was about to fire at Koenigs, but aborted fire when he heard shots from Buxeda’s pistol.
Bradenton Beach Police Det. Sgt. Lenard Diaz was also on the scene. He testified that as he watched Koenigs, he thought to himself, "My God, why aren’t they shooting him?"
He said just after that thought, Buxeda opened fire.
There was some doubt about whether the jury would convict Koenigs on the charge of aggravated battery against Normand because Koenig’s defense lawyer, assistant public defender Peter Belmont, argued that the shooting was an accident. One of the keys to the prosecution’s case was the fact that the pistol Koenigs used contained a clip with four rounds in it. In addition, a fanny pack he was wearing contained another clip that fit into the gun, indicating he may not have wanted to mail that gun in the first place.