Brett Pleasant found guilty of second-degree murder in death of Jo Ann Leasure

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
Brett Pleasant. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

A verdict has been reached in the trial of Brett Pleasant, who is accused of killing a 77-year-old woman in her North Fort Myers home.

Pleasant has been found guilty of second-degree murder for Jo Ann Leasure’s death. She was found dead inside of her condo on June 21, 2017.

Pleasant didn’t react at first as jurors read their verdict. But the he swooped his head down and lifted it back up.

Pleasant was found not guilty of robbery.

Jury deliberation started just before 10:30 a.m. with a decision being reached almost two hours later.

Jo Ann Leasure (Photo via Covenant Presbyterian Church directory)

The trial started on Tuesday with jury selection.

Pleasant faces charges of second-degree murder and robbery.

Closing statements began on Thursday.

Defense attorneys implied there was another suspect in the case.

Pleasant declined to testify in the trial but jurors heard his taped interview with investigators where he denied ever meeting Leasure.

“We’re very pleased with the jury’s verdict,” said Assistant State Attorney Sara Miller. “They put a lot of time and attention into this case. It was a difficult case, difficult photographs, tough facts.”

Miller and prosecutor Andreas Gardiner relied heavily on physical evidence including Pleasant’s fingerprint on the tape wrapped around Leasure’s neck.

His DNA was found on Leasure’s body, including her eyes, wrists and arms.

For more than 16 years, Leasure was the best neighbor Scott Langston and his wife could have.

“The kind you wish you had, the kind you’re so glad you do have,” Langston said.

Every day of the murder trial, Langston took a corner seat in the back with a stack of articles about Leasure.

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