A family torn asunder by the murder of a mom and her 11-year-old child now knows the sentence of their murderer: death. Marlin Joseph was sentenced to death this week in Palm Beach County for the horrific 2017 murders of Kaladaa Crowell and her 11-year-old daughter, Kyra Inglett.
Murder over Children’s Squabbles
In 2017, Crowell was dating Robin Denson, Joseph’s mother. Crowell, Inglett, Joseph, Denson, and Joseph’s three children all lived in the same residence. Inglett often squabbled with Joseph’s 8-year-old daughter, and it was one of these squabbles that Joseph turned into a double homicide.
According to police records, Inglett and Joseph’s daughter were arguing, and his daughter texted him to complain about it. By the time he returned home from work, the pair had patched things up and were playing together peacefully. But Joseph was on the war path. The 29-year-old father of three confronted 36-year-old Crowell, and the pair argued. Witnesses report that Crowell pleaded for help before Joseph shot and killed her.
Though horrible enough on it’s own, what happened next would later shock jurors and seal Joseph’s fate in the court system. After Inglett heard her mom’s murder, she fled the house on foot, in a state of blind terror. Joseph chased her down, shooting her five times and ultimately killing her. Joseph’s brother attempted to intervene, but Joseph was able to flee the scene in Crowell’s car. It was this cold, calculated, pursuit of frightened little Inglett that convinced jurors of Joseph’s intent.
Joseph Found Guilty, Family Pleads for Mercy
In February of 2019, Joseph was found guilty by a jury of six men and six women. The charges were two counts of first degree murder, and the jury unanimously recommended the death sentence.
During the sentencing period, Joseph’s family pled for mercy. They presented slide shows of Joseph acting the family man and loving father, and invited character witnesses to speak on his behalf. Joseph’s mother, Denson, said mental illness was the reason behind Joseph’s actions. The trial was delayed briefly as they ascertained Joseph’s mental competence, and he was cleared to be held accountable.
When handing down his sentenced, Palm Beach County Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo did not mince words. According to SunSentinel, “‘Marlin Larice Joseph, you have not only forfeited your right to live among us, but under the laws of the state of Florida you have forfeited your right to live at all,’ the judge said of the punishment imposed for both killings. ‘Marlin Larice Joseph, may God have mercy on your soul.’”
Despite Joseph’s family’s attempts to place the blame on mental illness and diminish his role in his own actions, the judge was not impressed. The prosecution argued successfully that Joseph’s stellar family life may be a fact, but it does not mitigate his heinous actions. Per the Sentinel, “’Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable,’ [Prosecution Attorney Richard] Clausi told the jurors, quoting from playwright Tennessee Williams. ‘Deliberate cruelty is what took Kaladaa’s life. Deliberate cruelty is what took Kyra’s life. And deliberate cruelty is why we’re asking you to deliver the punishment that fits the crime, with regards to what he did on that day. And that is a recommendation of death.’
Listing factors to justify a death sentence, the prosecution said shootings were ‘heinous, atrocious, or cruel,’ for the way Joseph fired at the victims’ heads, and the slayings were done in a ‘cold, calculated, and premeditated manner’ without any reason.”
Judge Unmoved by Joseph’s Family’s Pleas
Although the judge agreed that Joseph loved his family, and they loved him, Caracuzzo did not believe those facts to be mitigating enough to lighten his sentence. The SunSentinel Shares, “‘The defendant presented evidence that the family loved him and that they would be devastated by his execution,’ Caracuzzo said. ‘The court finds this mitigating circumstance was established and gives it little weight.’
Kenneth Crowell, father of Kaladaa and grandfather of Kyra, said the jury made the right decision, considering the devastation caused by Joseph.
‘It was a horrendous murder, torture, execution of our babies,’ Crowell told reporters in February. ‘Kaladaa didn’t deserve that. Kyra did not deserve that.’”