Crime

Family of Woman Murdered With Hammer in West Palm Close to Settlement in Wrongful Death Suit

The State of Massachusetts' probation officers allowed Sonny Peixoto to move to South Florida in 2004, despite his having just entered a guilty plea to vehicular homicide. The move made it possible for him to meet -- then murder -- Amity Kozak in 2007 in a West Palm Beach high-rise. That's the basis for a wrongful death suit by the Kozak family against Massachusetts that appears to be nearing a settlement.

Peixoto and his brother Samuel Peixoto, a former Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy, left a trail of death and destruction during their time in Florida. In Massachusetts, Sonny Peixoto caused a car-crash that killed a 79-year-old woman. A few years later, he beat his ex-girlfriend, Kozak, to death with a claw hammer before leaping to his own death from the 11th floor of the condo.

A year later, his brother Samuel Peixoto shot and killed

a Guatemalan immigrant during a traffic stop. The subsequent investigation found that his version of that shooting didn't jibe with the evidence. In April 2008, Peixoto doused his West Palm apartment in gas, ignited it, then shot himself in the head with a Glock pistol.

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Thomas Francis