Prosecutor in Club Blu shooting trial found dead in his home

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Anthony William Kunasek at the Club Blu trial. (Credit: WINK News)

Prosecutor Anthony William Kunasek with the State Attorney’s Office has died, according to his office.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Kunasek was not murdered but declined to give any further details.

State Attorney Amira Fox said in a statement:

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Assistant State Attorney Anthony (Tony) Kunasek. Tony was an incredibly important and beloved member of our SAO team for many years and a dear friend, and he will be deeply missed more than words could ever express. He was an excellent and gifted attorney and his work helped keep Southwest Florida a safe place to live. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and request that you allow his family and friends to grieve privately at this time.”

Kunasek was the lead prosecutor in the Club Blu shooting case, where the trial for defendant Kierra Russ, who is facing a second-degree murder and conspiracy change, is currently underway.

Russ is the first of five defendants to face a jury in the 2016 shooting that killed Stef’an Strawder, 18, and Sean Archilles, 14, two teens present at the party. The shooting also injured 14 others.

The high-profile murder trial started last week. As they head into the second week, the trial’s future is up in the air.

“These kinds of things do happen, it is very rare. That’s true. But they can happen,” said Pamella Seay, an FGCU law professor.

WINK News spoke with Seay to see what could happen next in this trial.

“First of all, we’re looking at the possibility of a continuance. Secondly, a possibility of a mistrial. And third, there will be concerns on the part of the participants in this trial,” said Seay.

They are two very different options, each with its own challenges.

“To see a delay in the process may be very challenging for them, certainly, psychologically for the family, for the family and friends, and timewise for the witnesses,” said Seay.

As for continuance, “What would be that second attorney’s frame of mind? Haven’t, you know, they’ve been working together for a long time on this case? If this was somebody that you were working with for a long period of time, and all of a sudden they passed away? How is that going to affect you personally? And are you able to move forward? So that is a huge question,” said Seay.

What comes next for the case? “Those those three parties, defense, prosecution and judge, those three parties are going to talk and figure out what needs to be done,” said Seay.

The future of Russ’ trial is unknown. Testimony is set to resume on Monday at 9:00 a.m. WINK News will be there and bring you the latest updates on the trial.

Also awaiting trial for the 2016 Club Blu shooting are Tajze Battle, Derrick Church, Don Loggins, and Demetrius O’Neal.

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