Sentence handed down in case of murder staged as self-defense

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Family and friends packed a Sarasota courtroom Monday. They've eagerly waited for the sentencing of James Cain, who pleaded guilty to helping his son stage a murder scene to look like a case of self defense on Easter night.

But investigators had an extra set of eyes: a surveillance camera that captured everything. That footage helped investigators crack the case wide open.

Family of the victim, Jason Head, filled the courtroom. Head's 15-year-old daughter cried on the stand.

"Without my dad, I feel so incredibly lost. There is a huge void that can and never will be filled," she said.

Defendant James Cain sat, appearing emotionless, just feet away.

"James Cain may not have pulled the trigger, killing my father, but he decided he was going to stage my father's dead body and make my dad look in the wrong," she said.

Cain was in court, taking a plea deal for his role in the murder of Jason Head. Cain called law enforcement, saying Head showed up at his house with a gun, looking for his daughter, so he shot Head.

It appeared to be self defense, but detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office found surveillance camera's on Cain's property, and the video told a very different story.

"If it was not for the surveillance cameras, James would still be living a lie," said Head's ex-girlfriend, April Denner.

The truth, prosecutors say, is that Head was unarmed. He was lured to the property and Cain's son, Robert was the trigger man. Investigators said the camera recorded all of it, as well as a conversation between Cain and his son about staging the crime.

Cain pleaded no contest to accessory to murder after the fact. He took the stand, trying to get a lesser sentence, but didn't do himself any favors.

"Anybody that thinks I'm not sorry or remorseful for this, I don't know what to say. I'm not crying over it. I probably should be. If that's what they want to see, I don't know what to say?" he said in court.

Judge Thomas Krug gave Cain the maximum sentence - 34 and a half months in jail. In return, Cain will have to testify against his son, Robert.

"It is just so needless, it was so pointless, there was no reason for this murder whatsoever," said family friend Anglea Walker.

It is something Jason Head's family and friends will never forget.

"I don't know that you can really find justice in this situation. There is no way to bring Jason back," said Walker. 

James Cain is the second person to take a plea deal.

Racquel Pontbriand is serving probation for a misdemeanor charge of lying to deputies and providing false information. She is the girlfriend of Robert Cain, the son of James Cain.