Father Accused of Killing Wife, 3 Children and Family Dog
The Florida father who spent multiple weeks living with the corpses of his wife, children and dog after killing them has been found guilty of their murders.
On Thursday, a jury found Anthony Todt, 46, guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty.
Following the verdict, Circuit Judge Keith A. Carsten handed down four consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole, calling Todt a “destroyer of worlds” and noting that “not one of those lives [taken] was less valuable than the other,” according to the Orlando-Sentinel, which had reporters in the courtroom.
The chilling murders came to light on Jan. 13, 2020, when FBI agents and Osceola County deputies knocked on the door of Todt’s house in the planned, picture-perfect community of Celebration to serve a federal warrant for health care fraud charges stemming from his physical therapy business.
While they were there, they found Todt inside the house along with the decomposing bodies of his wife, Megan Todt, 42; their 13-year-old son, Alek; their 11-year-old son, Tyler; their youngest child, Zoe; and their dog, Breezy.
Todt was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Shifting Accounts of Murders
Taking the stand during the trial, Todt blamed his wife for killing their children.
“I came home and my kids were dead,” Todt said, The Daily Beast reports. “It was the most horrible day of my life. What made it more horrible was that my wife died in front of me also.”
But in videotaped confessions shown in court earlier in the trial, Todt claimed he and his wife decided to kill the kids and themselves because she had been watching videos about how to achieve “salvation” because of a coming apocalypse, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Todt claimed in his confession that he and Megan had agreed to kill the entire family, Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell said on Monday, April 11, 2022, the first day of the murder trial at the Osceola County Courthouse in Kissimmee, the Orlando Sentinel, ClickOrlando.com and WESH2 report.
“Everybody needed to die in order to pass over to the other side together,” Pinnell said, paraphrasing Todt’s claim.
In his confession, Todt claimed he and his wife talked to the children about dying, and said the kids told them, “We want to die with you,” the Sentinel reports.
Todt’s youngest child, 4-year-old Zoe, was the first to be killed, he said.
Todt told detectives he sat on his daughter’s bed for hours before he ultimately suffocated her with a pillow, according to the Sentinel.
“I needed to save her soul,” the Sentinel reports. “I wanted her to be with us.”
He stabbed and suffocated both of his sons. He claimed his wife stabbed herself in the abdomen. When she failed to kill herself, he claimed, he suffocated her with a pillow, according to Pinnell.
When everyone was dead, Pinnell said, he told detectives, “He took all of their bodies and placed them all into the master bedroom,” WESH2 reports.
During his videotaped confession, Todt told detectives he wanted to join his deceased family members on “the other side,” the Sentinel reports. “That’s where I want to be.”
Todt’s story changed after his arrest, say authorities, claiming after he’d confessed that he actually wasn’t home when the killings took place.
Todt said the children were killed before Christmas, meaning he’d been living with the bodies for weeks.
Financial Troubles Preceded Killings
In recent years, Todt and his family had moved to Celebration from Colchester, Conn., though it’s unclear how long they’d lived in the Disney-developed dream town, which Disney no longer owns. He traveled between the two states while he tried to salvage his beleaguered practice in Connecticut.
Todt was a longtime physical therapist and owner of Family Physical Therapy in Colchester. But court records show that Todt was deep in debt.
Over the years, liens had been placed on a condo that the family owned in Celebration, just blocks from their rental home at 202 Reserve Place.
On Dec. 22, the landlord of the family’s condo at Reserve Place filed an eviction notice, serving the family on Dec. 26.
Todt’s public defender did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.