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Mark Louis DUFAULT





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (14) - For no apparent reason
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 16, 1998
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: November 27, 1983
Victim profile: Joyce Adams, 60 (his grandmother)
Method of murder: Stabbing with a paring knife
Location: Seminole County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on March 16, 2000

Teen Who Killed His Grandma Gets Life

By Rene Stutzman -

March 17, 2000

SANFORD - Mark Louis Dufault, who at 14 stabbed his grandmother to death with a paring knife for no apparent reason, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A jury took 21/2 hours to convict him Thursday of first-degree murder. Circuit Judge Alan Dickey sentenced Dufault, now 16, to a life sentence without parole, the only sentence allowed under state law.

Although Dufault was tried as an adult, he did not face the death penalty because he was younger than 16 when he killed his grandmother in October of 1998.

He is now one of the youngest ''lifers'' in the state prison system.

The youngest is Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips, 16, the Jacksonville boy convicted of first-degree murder last year for beating an 8-year-old neighbor girl to death and then hiding her body beneath his waterbed for several days.

Dufault is 31/2 months older than Phillips.

Although it's not clear where Dufault will serve his sentence, he'll be imprisoned with adults, not juveniles, said Debbie Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Dufault closed his eyes when the verdict was read but otherwise showed no emotion. With his ankles shackled, he shuffled obediently from the defense table to the podium, when the judge ordered him to stand for sentencing.

He did not testify at his three-day trial. In fact, his attorneys presented no evidence of any kind. Defense attorney Tim Caudill spent most of his closing argument Thursday urging jurors to convict Dufault of the lesser charge of second-degree murder, which carried a minimum sentence of 211/2 years in prison.

Caudill insisted the killing was not premeditated.

''There is no evidence of any plan or motive,'' he said.

That was the most curious thing about the case. Dufault says he was not angry with his grandmother, Joyce Adams, 60, a cafeteria manager at Longwood Elementary School.

The boy and his grandmother had listened to music together, then he had gone into the bedroom where he sometimes slept and began cleaning it, according to two confessions he gave that day.

Adams was in her bedroom, putting on makeup, when a rage came over the boy, and he decided to kill his grandmother, he told police. He went into the kitchen and got the knife.

He hid it in his back pocket and walked into her bedroom, talking to her as he approached. He then clamped his left hand over her mouth. There was a struggle, and he began stabbing her, according to his confession.

The medical examiner identified six knife wounds. None was particularly deep, but one blow pushed the knife through her breastbone and into her aorta, the main artery leading from her heart.

That was the fatal wound, said Palm Beach County Deputy Medical Examiner Charles Siebert.

''I don't know why I did it,'' Dufault told police.


Seminole Boy Heads For Trial In Killing

His Grandmother Was An Easy Target For Mark Louis Dufault's Rage, Prosecutors Say

By Rene Stutzman -

March 12, 2000

SANFORD - In his videotaped confession, Mark Louis Dufault, a quiet, overweight 14-year-old, says he wasn't angry with his grandmother the day he killed her.

The only explanation he gives for stabbing her to death with a paring knife was that he had an inner rage and needed an outlet. His grandmother, who at 125 pounds was half his size, was an easy target.

The family tragedy will play itself out in court this week when Dufault, now 16, stands trial on a first-degree murder charge.

To prosecutors, there isn't much question that Dufault killed Joyce Adams, a 60-year-old school cook, as she stood in front of her bedroom mirror putting on makeup in their Lake Mary home in 1998.

His father, who pulled Dufault off of Adams during the attack, is set to testify against him. Then there's the matter of Dufault's confession.

This month, defense attorneys lost their bid to keep part of the confession out of the trial. They argued Dufault was in an emotional state when he gave the statement and didn't understand what he was saying.

What no one will likely explain during the trial is why Dufault - whose prior juvenile record included a charge of sexually abusing a child - would have committed the crime. He told police a rage came over him, and he simply decided to kill someone, said Lake Mary police Detective Camiel Long.

Adams was stabbed five times - twice in the chest. The knife was only 5 inches long, but it pierced her aorta, the main artery leading from the heart.

While she lay on the floor, bleeding to death, Dufault ''was standing there by the bed, banging himself in the head with the phone - calling himself stupid,'' his father said in a sworn statement.

However, psychological tests show Dufault is not stupid. He is an above-average reader and a good artist. He had, at times, a miserable school record. But lately, his class work inside the Seminole County Jail has been good. In fact, he is helping other inmates learn how to use computers, said jail director Maj. Greg Futch.

At the time of the slaying, Dufault was a sophomore at Seminole High School but was under house arrest because a year and a half earlier he had been charged with sexually abusing a girl under the age of 12. Dufault admitted the incident to police.

It's not clear how much supervision he got at home. According to an evaluation by the Florida Department of Children & Families, he smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, a habit he started at age 7. He sometimes drank vodka, tequila and rum, and had smoked marijuana since he was 12. His parents divorced in 1994.

Both parents were arrested in 1997 after their son's sexual-abuse arrest. The victim's mother told police that Dufault's father, Mark Neil Dufault, 37, threatened to kill her with a kitchen knife if she told authorities about the abuse. She also accused Janet Dufault, 31, of threatening her.

Both parents were charged with witness tampering but entered pleas to lesser charges.

As for this trial, defense attorney Tim Caudill would not discuss his strategy. He may argue the boy is mentally ill, though not insane. He may call two witnesses to testify about Dufault's emotional state.

A few months ago, Dufault told a psychiatrist and psychologist in separate interviews that he does not remember the slaying.

The one point that neither side disputes is that Dufault loved his grandmother, and she loved him. There is no evidence she had done anything to provoke him.

''She was the only one who was nice to him,'' said Long, the detective who led the slaying investigation.


14-year-old Is Indicted In Grandmother's Death

November 3, 1998

SANFORD - A Seminole County grand jury Monday indicted 14-year-old Mark Louis Dufault on a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his grandmother.

Dufault's grandmother, Joyce Adams, was killed in her home Oct. 16.

Afterward, Dufault told authorities the only way for him to release his pent-up rage was to kill somebody.

The Lake Mary teenager is the second 14-year-old indicted in Seminole County in seven months on a charge of first-degree murder.

In April, Jonathan Arce of Oviedo was indicted in the stabbing death of his neighbor, June Stillman, 68, who was found dead in her garage March 10.

Both are being prosecuted as adults. Because of their ages, they cannot be sentenced to death.


Teen Held In Killing Of Grandma Was On Probation

The Lake Mary Youth Admitted To Police Last Year That He Performed Lewd And Lascivious Acts On A Child

By Elaine Backhouse -

October 20, 1998

LAKE MARY - A teenager charged in the stabbing death of his grandmother was on probation at the time for committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child, Lake Mary police said.

Seminole County court records also show that Mark Louis Dufault, 14, admitted to police last year that he performed the acts on the young girl on two occasions near his grandmother's home at 229 Byron Ave.

Meanwhile, the Seminole-Brevard State Attorney's Office said Monday it plans to charge the teenager as an adult in the death of his grandmother, Joyce Marie Adams, 60, who was stabbed six times Friday with a paring knife in the bedroom of her home. Dufault, a ninth-grader at Seminole High School in Sanford, is being held on a murder charge at the Seminole County Juvenile Detention Center.

An autopsy Monday showed Adams bled to death from a stab wound to her aorta. The food service manager at Longwood Elementary School had also been stabbed once in the right lung - which collapsed - once in her left knee, neck and in each arm, police Capt. Sam Belfiore said.

Lake Mary police investigators said the boy said he attacked his grandmother from the back, placing his hand over her mouth, and that the two had struggled on the bed.

The boy's father, Mark Neil Dufault, 36, who was living with his mother and was awakened by her screams, pulled his son off Adams, but it was too late, police said.

The boy told investigators that he had a lot of ''pent-up anger,'' and the only way to release it was to kill someone, investigators said.

Lake Mary police had previous contact with the teenager, as well as his parents.

About the same time Lake Mary police arrested the boy in the March 1997 lewd and lascivious case, they also arrested his divorced parents and charged them with witness tampering in the incident.

Court records show Mark Neil Dufault and Janet Dufault, also 36, were arrested after the victim's mother said they had threatened to harm her if she notified police about what had happened.

The victim's mother also told police that the couple said they didn't want their son to go to jail, and that at one point the boy's father told her he was going to get a knife from the kitchen, court records state.

The boy's parents later pleaded no contest to reduced charges, and each paid a $100 fine.

When police questioned Adams about what she knew about the witness-tampering incident, court records state, she lowered her head after telling investigators that she didn't want to get involved. Minutes later, though, she told police that she was in her bedroom when her son and former daughter-in-law were talking with the victim's mother. Court records state Adams told police that she didn't hear everything that was said, but that she didn't think her son actually would have harmed the woman.

Adams, who had worked for the Seminole County school district for more than 20 years, had been the food service manager at Longwood Elementary for three years.

Monday, counselors went to the school to help Adams' co-workers and students deal with their grief.

Dan Andrews, the district's food service director, called Adams a ''dear, sweet lady'' who doted on her grandson and loved working with students.

''She was very positive, very friendly, very giving,'' Andrews said. ''She just loved the kids."


Mark Louis Dufault



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