Man pleads guilty to killing Nassau Sheriff’s Deputy

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — The man accused of killing a Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy is pleaded guilty Friday morning.

Often, when a person pleads guilty it comes along with a deal for lower charges, but the State Attorney is making it clear she won’t sign on to any such deal in this case.

Patrick McDowell is accused of killing Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Moyers in 2021 during a traffic stop.


McDowell also pleaded guilty to charges related to injuring a police K-9 and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson opined McDowell could be hoping to escape the death penalty with the move.

“There’s a hope by the defense that they won’t pull out all the stops during the sentencing,” said Carson.

But State Attorney Melissa Nelson has indicated her office will seek the death penalty regardless of whether McDowell pleads guilty or not.

“The determination as to whether the defendant will be sentenced to death would occur during separate penalty phase proceedings,” said Nelson’s Communication Director David Chapman said in a statement.

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Carson isn’t surprised by the State Attorney’s reluctance to accept a plea deal.

“You have individuals who are the spearpoint of controlling violence in the community and they have been injured in this particular case,” said Carson.

But Carson said even with the State Attorney pledging to pursue the death penalty, there still could be an advantage for McDowell to plead guilty off the bat.

“He’s admitted the offense, he’s sorry and he can in that way potentially cause the jurors to determine that his life is worth saving,” said Carson.

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