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Florida prosecutors are pushing for the death penalty in the case of an appliance deliveryman who allegedly beat an elderly customer with a mallet and doused her in a chemical liquid before setting her on fire.
Jorge Lachazo, 21, was charged with first-degree murder back in August for allegedly committing the savage attack on 75-year-old Evelyn "Evy" Udell inside of her Boca Raton home.
On Monday, the local State’s Attorney’s Office in Palm Beach County filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty.
The two-paged document suggests Lachazo’s motive was for “pecuniary gain” and that the attack on Udell was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel."
On Aug. 19, Lachazo and his coworker David Gonzalez, both working for a Miami-based subsidiary of JB Hunt, a Best Buy subcontractor, arrived at Udell’s home to install a washer and dryer.
After installing the units, Lachazo apparently lingered in the home, while Gonzalez went outside to call the main office, according to authorities.
“Lachazo remained inside of the home to speak with the victim about the new appliances,” the Boca Raton Police said in a statement. “After hearing screams from the house, Gonzalez entered the home and saw blood and the victim on the floor.”
As Gonzalez quickly headed back outside to dial 911, Lachazo took off in their delivery truck, police said.
An officer managed to get Lachazo to stop the vehicle and restrained him.
When questioned, Lachazo allegedly “admitted that he struck the victim and doused her with a liquid chemical,” the police said.
He also allegedly told investigators he was “using cocaine and marijuana earlier in the day.”
First responders found Udell “unconscious and suffering from burns and trauma injuries,” according to police. The woman was transported to Delray Medical Center and succumbed to her injuries on Aug. 20.
Two years before the deadly encounter, Lachazo was caught stealing a cell phone, but because of his clean record, he was granted the chance to complete a pretrial diversion program, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Following Udell's death, her family filed a lawsuit against Best Buy and the subcontractors used in the delivery of the appliances, according to WPTV, an NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach.
Best Buy has since suspended its relationship with the local subcontracting delivery company where Lachazo worked and is reviewing its screening and safety programs, the station reported.
“Had this company conducted a background check on this particular person, this incident never happens –– Evy Udell is not dead,” John Morgan told the CBS affiliate WTSP.
The family is also trying to increase background checks for home-service workers, the station reported.
Udell worked as a librarian at LaSalle University and Gwynedd Mercy College in Philadelphia before moving to Boca Raton to be closer to her grandchildren. She had been working for the Florida Atlantic University library until 2018, according to her obituary.
Lachazo been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree arson and armed burglary with battery.
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