A physical therapist from Connecticut who sought ‘control over the lives and deaths’ of his wife, three young children and the family’s dog was found guilty of murdering his entire family two years ago in central Florida after six hours of deliberation.
A 12-member jury convicted Anthony Todt, 46, on Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty.
He was accused of killing his 42-year-old wife Megan, and his three children, Zoe, four; Tyler, 11; and Alek, 13. The family’s dog, Breezy, was also found dead in the home in Celebration, a community that is located close to Walt Disney World.
Prosecutors weren’t seeking the death penalty, which means Todt will receive a mandatory life sentence. Judge Keith A. Carsten called Todt ‘a destroyer of worlds’, while the father-of-three was seen constantly shaking his head as he was in dismay from learning his verdict.
Despite being found guilty, Todt insisted he was innocent and that he was not at the family’s home on the night his children, wife and pet passed away.
‘I loved my wife. I loved my kids,’ he told the judge. ‘They were first and foremost in my life. I did not do this. I provided for my wife. I provided for kids. I did everything I could.’
Anthony Todt, 46, a physical therapist from Connecticut living in Florida, was found guilty of murdering his wife, their three children and their dog two years ago on Thursday
Todt allegedly killed his wife Megan, 42, as well as Alek, 13 Tyler, 11, their daughter Zoe, four, (pictured together), and dog Breezy because he thought the world was ending in apocalyptic fashion
Earlier Thursday during closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell told the jury that Todt, 46, nonchalantly detailed the killings to investigators after his arrest at the family’s home.
He later claimed that he took the blame for his wife, who he said had killed the children by feeding them poisonous ‘pudding pie’ before stabbing herself in the stomach.
‘I was covering for my wife,’ Todt told the jury when he took the stand in his defense on Wednesday. ‘Obviously, unsuccessfully. I had no clue how my kids died.’
But Pinnell told jurors Todt wanted to control the lives of his wife and children.
After his arrest, Todt told detectives that he and his wife had an agreement to kill their family so they could ‘pass over’ together when the apocalypse — which they thought was imminent — Pinnell said Thursday, reiterating an assertion she also made in her opening statements.
‘We don’t want you to die,’ Todt claimed his kids told him. ‘We want to die with you.’
Pinnell added that Todt used cellphones belonging to the victim to tell relatives they were all sick. Todt’s sister recalled receiving a text message from Megan’s phone about the apocalypse shortly after she asked police to check on the family’s well-being.
The victims were killed sometime after they were last seen in mid-December 2019, prosecutors said. Their decomposing bodies were found wrapped in blankets in a room on January 13, 2020 after police showed up at the family’s home with a warrant for Todt to arrest him on federal health care fraud charges related to his Connecticut physical therapy business.
All of the victims had stab wounds and toxic amounts of Benadryl in their systems, according to autopsy reports, which is also ruled that Megan and her three children had no longer been alive for ‘at least a couple weeks’ before their discovery.
The victims were allegedly drugged with Benadryl, suffocated, stabbed and left to rot for two weeks inside their Celebration, Florida home (pictured) near Disney World
Cops found the victims’ decomposing bodies on January 13, 2020, when they went to arrest Todt on insurance fraud charges related to his physical therapy business. Pictured: The family
When Todt was arrested in 2020 he reportedly told investigators he and Megan had made a murder-suicide pact ahead of what they believed was an impending apocalypse. The couple is pictured together
The defense team maintained the state had not proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The medical examiner, they said, could not determine whether the children were suffocated or strangled, and said the stab wounds were likely inflicted after death.
‘He came home to his kids being dead, his wife was alive but essentially dying, and stabbed herself in front of him,’ Assistant Public Defender Alesha Smith told jurors.
She said the state ‘is essentially picking and choosing when they want you to believe Mr. Todt and when they don’t.’
Smith added that police did little to verify the accuracy of Todt’s initial confession, including retrieving samples of blood evidence in the rooms where the murders took place.
‘We don’t see any phone searches,’ Smith said. ‘We don’t see any Google searches. … [The detective] took Mr. Todt at his word and decided, ‘Hey, my job is done.”
In an interrogation video with cops showing his confession to the murders, Todt said Megan had become obsessed with reincarnation as her health deteriorated from a long personal history with Lyme disease – a bacterial infection stemmed from the bite of an infected tick that can spread rapidly to the heart or nervous system if not treated.
Todt added that Megan came to the conclusion that if they ‘burned the family karma’ that they were living in, then they would be rewarded and reincarnated to a better life with improved circumstances.
‘Mr. Todt, what could have prevented Megan from killing her children?’ Orange-Osceola Public Defender Bob Wesley at one point asked the defendant.
‘I have no idea,’ Todt replied while giving testimony. ‘We woke up that morning she was pain-free. Everything was good. … That’s the biggest thing that affects me. I didn’t see this coming.’
‘I was covering for my wife,’ Todt told the jury on Wednesday when he took the stand. He said: ‘Obviously, unsuccessfully. I had no clue how my kids died,’ before claiming that his wife had fed their children poisonous ‘pudding pie’
Todt is pictured with his three children in an undated photo
In the weeks before the discovery was made, Todt told jurors he attempted to commit suicide in different ways, including overdosing on Benadryl, though he ‘chickened out’ of using a knife, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He added that he has no recollection of the confession he made to police officers shortly after being arrested, and that he only remembers his time in jail since being locked up.
‘My testimony today is the fact that Megan killed her kids and killed herself,’ he said in conclusion.
Todt was seen crying on numerous occasions when questioned by his defense, but Pinnell said she noticed he became angry when she asked him to walk her through his account of the murders while standing as a witness.
‘He described himself as this loyal “‘I’ll do anything, I’ll take the blame for Megan” man,’ Pinnell told jurors. ‘But something interesting that he said is, “Megan killed her kids.” Not our kids. Not my kids. Her kids.’
In her final words to the jury, Pinnell insisted that ‘there is no reasonable doubt in this case.’