When suspended attorney Brandon Labiner arrived at the parking garage outside of his father's Boca Raton law office on a bicycle the afternoon of July 1, surveillance footage captured him removing a box from a drawstring bag, opening it, and pulling out what appeared to be a gun, according to an arrest affidavit.
The Boca Raton Police Department claims he paced around the garage for several minutes before coming face-to-face with his victim — his 68-year-old father, Paul Labiner — and fatally shooting him four times outside the building off North Federal Highway. Brandon Labiner was arrested the following day at his law office nearby.
The affidavit released last week (attached to the bottom of this story) reveals the details of the murder investigation, including how the 34-year-old University of Florida graduate's family immediately pegged him as the alleged killer.
Police claim that when contacted by officers about the slaying, Labiner's sister and her husband said they already suspected Labiner as the culprit, noting his souring relationship with his father and a recent legal dispute between them.
"They suspect Brandon is the suspect because Brandon and [the victim] had a bad relationship due to a legal battle they have been involved in regarding their law firm," the affidavit states. "They also noted that Brandon has been under a lot of stress because his unborn child died...and he is going through a divorce from his wife."
In February, Labiner announced the death of his unborn son in a Facebook post, saying, "I am at a loss writing this, trying to figure out how we can move forward."
In April, the Florida Supreme Court suspended his law license after his father filed a lawsuit and a bar complaint against him, alleging that he had stolen roughly $450,000 from a family trust account, of which he was a trustee.
Court documents obtained by New Times show that the father-and-son legal dispute was heating up shortly before the murder. Among other developments, the elder Labiner accused his son of filing a bogus document to dismiss the lawsuit while masquerading as the plaintiffs in the case.
"Plaintiffs believe that Brandon fraudulently filed the dismissal on the 15th Circuit [online scheduling system] and intentionally misled the court into thinking that it was filed by the plaintiffs," Paul Labiner wrote to the court on May 10.
The presiding judge tossed out the allegedly fraudulent dismissal, and the litigation was resurrected in late May.
"These most recent brazen acts of fraud, misrepresentation, and misconduct are typical of the prior acts of fraud and dishonesty that Brandon has exhibited," the father wrote, pointing to his son's alleged use of forged documents to mislead the Florida Bar in its investigation of the missing trust funds.
Five days before the murder, Brandon Labiner was advised by his father that he would be interviewed in the civil case. His father sent him a notice directing him to appear on August 3 for an online deposition in the matter.
On the day of the murder, around 4:30 p.m., after receiving reports of shots fired, police arrived at the Boca Raton parking garage to find Paul Labiner lying inside the breezeway in a large pool of blood with gunshot wounds to his head, chest, and lower body. (The affidavit redacts Paul Labiner's name, citing Marsy's Law, but several media outlets have identified him as the victim.)
The affidavit states that about an hour later, Brandon Labiner called his sister and assured her that he had "nothing to do" with his father's murder and didn't even own a gun — despite allegedly telling her months earlier that he had purchased a firearm. He then texted her, asking what time she and her husband wanted to see him the next day to meet his cat.
Police later tracked Labiner's car to his office and tried to speak with him on the phone, at which point he declined and provided them with the number for his attorney, who helped arrange for Labiner to exit the building and surrender to police.
Inside Labiner's law office building, roughly three miles from his father's law office, police found two dogs and a cat that Labiner's estranged wife later retrieved. Police say that in a public restroom trash at the office, they found a gun cleaning kit and a piece of paper with Labiner's lawyer's name on it.
More evidence was retrieved from Labiner's car after officers obtained a warrant. According to the affidavit, police found a 9mm firearm, multiple ammo boxes, a gas can, and a charred trash container containing gloves and a face mask. The ammo matched the casings at the scene of the murder, police claim.
"Based on the trash can being burnt, the gas can, and the lighter, it appeared that these items may have been used to attempt to destroy evidence," the affidavit alleges.