Could student accused of killing parents face death penalty?

- There are only five women on Florida's death row. Could 21-year-old Nicole Nachtman be next?

Nachtman, a student at Florida State University, is charged with killing her parents in August.

Investigators said Nachtman told them she heard loud voices and then drove 276 miles from Tallahassee to shoot her parents, Myriam and Robert Dienes

Before Nachtman goes to trial, prosecutors must decide whether they will seek the death penalty. It's not a simple decision.

Defense Attorney Rick Terrana has handled 30 death penalty cases in his legal career. The most notorious was the case of Adam Davis, who killed his girlfriend's mother by injecting her with bleach and stabbing her.

He says the decision to seek the death penalty in any case isn't left up to one person. The decision is made by a committee.

The committee includes Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober, his chief assistant and the felony chiefs of each division.

Terrana said it's a life and death decision that needs a lot of voices.

"You want nothing less than a committee deciding this. You certainly don't want one person making this decision unilaterally on whether someone lives or dies. Imagine if that person had a bad day at home or in the office," said Terrana.

Investigators said Nachtman killed her step dad first, and then waited until her mother returned home the next day and killed her too.

Terrana said the committee will weigh whether the murders were "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel" and whether they were calculated or premeditated.

The Public Defender’s Office represents Nachtman. They will weigh in on the decision as well.

"I'm sure they are diving into the mental state of this defendant as deep as anyone could ever look into that," said Terrana.

The committee doesn't vote, but rather comes to a consensus on whether the case is death-penalty worthy. It's a decision that Terrana said should never be rushed.

Nachtman is due back in court on December 10th. Prosecutors are expected to announce their decision then.

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