A last-minute plea deal halfway through jury selection ended what was supposed to be the start of a murder trial Thursday for a 30-year-old West Palm Beach man indicted last year for a 2012 Jupiter-area shooting.
Anthony “Ant” Drisdom pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery charges Thursday in the death of Kenneth Rusak, whose body was found July 28, 2012 on the 6700 block of Fourth Street, just north of Indiantown Road, in the Limestrone Creek area.
Rusak had been robbed of his sneakers at the time investigators found his body. Palm Beach County sheriff’s officials at the time said they believed the murder and robbery was drug-related.
Circuit Judge Charles Burton sentenced Drisdom to a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence as part of a plea agreement between Assistant State Attorneys Reid Scott and Terri Skiles and defense attorneys Robert Gershman and John Cleary.
At the time, attorneys in the case were halfway through picking a jury to hear evidence in the case. If he had gone to trial and been convicted of first-degree murder, Drisdom would have faced a mandatory life in prison sentence.
According to court records, Rusak’s family and investigators in the case agreed to the plea.
Although a grand jury didn’t indict Drisdom until February 2016, authorities at the time of the indictment said he had been a suspect throughout the investigation. He also was arrested that month on separate charges of grand theft and trespassing.
Florida Department of Corrections records show Drisdom also has previously served three stints in prison from charges in Broward and Palm Beach counties including burglary, resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency worker.