New trial ordered in murder of Flagler County store clerk

FILE - Generic gavel on wooden table.

An appeals court Friday ordered a new trial for a man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of a Flagler County convenience-store clerk.

A panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that a circuit judge used an incorrect legal standard when he denied a request by Joseph Frank Bova II to represent himself.

Bova was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2019 in the murder of  Zuheily Rosado, a clerk at a Mobil convenience store, according to local media reports at the time. But the appeals court Friday said Circuit Judge Terence Perkins did not properly handle a request by Bova to represent himself in the case.

"In sum, appellant (Bova) made an unequivocal request to represent himself, which the trial court denied based on an incorrect application of both (U.S. Supreme Court precedent in a case known as Faretta v. California and a rule)," read the appeals-court decision, written by Judge Meredith Sasso and joined by Chief Judge Kerry Evander and Judge Mary Alice Nardella. "Consequently, we determine the trial court abused its discretion in denying appellant’s request and reverse and remand for a new trial."