Prosecutor: Death penalty possible for man in boater’s death

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MGN Online

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – A 36-year-old man could face the death penalty in the death of a boater who went missing while traveling from Gulf Shores, Alabama, to the Florida Panhandle.

The News Journal reports Michael Paul Rodgers was picked up in Louisiana on fraud and theft charges after officials say he tried to assume the identity of 62-year-old James Gunther. He’s now in the Escambia County Jail in Florida, where he also faces homicide and sex offender violation charges.

Gunther’s family called authorities April 1 after he didn’t contact them for several days during an annual boating trip to Port St. Joe. The boat was found anchored and abandoned near Fort McCree.

State Attorney Bill Eddins tells the newspaper his office will seek the death penalty.

Records don’t indicate whether Rodgers has a lawyer.

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