Convicted cop killer seeks to be taken off death row

Leonardo Franqui convicted of killing North Miami police Detective Steven Bauer

MIAMI – A convicted cop killer is seeking to be removed from death row decades after the 1992 murder. 

"I never really made eye contact with the man before, and I did today," the victim's son, Kyle Bauer, said. 

Bauer was 3 years old when his father was killed while on duty in North Miami in January 1992.

Detective Steven Bauer was ambushed and shot while protecting bank tellers from a robbery.

A quarter century later, his convicted killer, Leonardo Franqui, wants off death row.

"He deserves it," Kyle Bauer said. "He took my father away from me and he's lived his whole life. He's lived just as long as I've been alive."  

North Miami police Detective Steven Bauer was fatally shot in January 1992.
North Miami police Detective Steven Bauer was fatally shot in January 1992.

North Miami Police Chief Larry Juriga said the department fully stands behind the Bauer family.

"We're going to go through this," Juringa said. "We're going to stand strong with the department and stand strong with the Bauer family."

Bauer's family, now-adult children and the family of South Florida law enforcement packed the courtroom for Tuesday's hearing. 

In Franqui's defense, medical experts questioned whether Franqui was intellectually capable to be put to death for the murder that happened almost 26 years ago -- a requirement set just last March under a Supreme Court ruling. 

"His actions and his confessions and his words were all calculated," Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera said. "It shows that he was of sound mind and he's certainly capable of killing another human being and to put all those things together."

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