Detective John T. Spoor was honored by Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet at a special ceremony in Tallahassee on April 25.
Spoor was recognized for going the extra mile to bring peace of mind to the victim's family and to hold a suspect accountable for his crime.
The ceremony was part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 22-28).
Spoor was nominated for this honor for his work in connection with a 2006 cold case homicide.
On October 29, 2006, Hoeschele Bernard Thomas, 48, was shot and gravely wounded just after 1:00 a.m. in front of a residence located at 11706 126th Terrace in Largo. He later died.
Sheriff's deputies and detectives responded, the crime scene was processed and
evidence gathered, but the case eventually became a Cold Case.
The cold case
In May of 2011, Spoor reviewed the case, and began making connections between the Thomas homicide and other crimes in the area at that time, notably, an unsolved drive-by shooting in Clearwater and an auto theft in Largo.
Spoor incorporated these cases into the homicide case, and began to get results. He coordinated with multiple prisons to conduct interviews of witnesses, and was able to use current charges, pending cases, prison locations and length of sentences to convince multiple subjects to cooperate. (Read more details on the cold case).
"The work was painstaking but paid-off. Detective Spoor was able to establish and arrest a suspect who actually killed two people," according to the sheriff's office.