By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A handyman has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing a Florida couple during a burglary.

Michael Anthony Herald, 52, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of second-degree murder as part of a deal with Hillsborough County prosecutors, the Tampa Bay Times reported. He had been scheduled to go on trial that day for first-degree murder, which would have meant a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

John Engelhart, 76, and Nancy Engelhart, 73, were found dead in a shed behind their Dover home in April 2016. Both had suffered trauma to their heads, according to an arrest report. Deputies had responded to the home after calls from family members went unanswered, and neighbors noticed packages piling up outside.

Herald had been in the Dover area looking for work several weeks before the slayings, and the Engelharts hired him as a handyman.

Surveillance video on the couple’s 10-acre property showed Nancy Engelhart walking out of her home toward the shed, followed by Herald walking out of the shed and into the house a few minutes later. He then came out, with John Engelhart following quickly behind into the shed. Herald later came back out, but the couple did not.

Engelhart left the area in the couple’s SUV. He was later arrested in his native Kentucky.

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