WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – One of two men charged with fatally beating a South Florida woman with a baseball bat has pleaded guilty and will testify against the co-defendant in his upcoming trial.
Herbert Savell was sentenced Monday to 60 years in state prison, avoiding a trial scheduled to begin next month.
Savell, 29, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon to avoid a possible death sentence. He had been charged with first-degree murder.
Under the terms of his plea deal, Savell agreed to testify against Andrew Hoffman, whose trial is scheduled to begin in February.
Police said Savell and Hoffman fatally beat Margeaux Greenwald with an aluminum baseball bat in June 2014.
According to a police report, Savell admitted that he and Hoffman were at the 35-year-old victim's Boynton Beach home when she passed out, so they decided to bind Greenwald's hands and feet with belts and neckties. They wrapped her in large plastic garbage bags and a rain poncho, and then stuffed her in the trunk of her 2005 Chrysler 300.
Savell told police that he heard noises coming from the trunk, so he stopped at a Target store and bought a 25-inch aluminum baseball bat. He said they drove to a wooded area in Palm Beach Gardens, opened the trunk and repeatedly beat her with the bat he had just purchased.
Once she was dead, Savell told police, he hid her body, put the bat and wrappings in the trunk and drove away.
Savell was later arrested after he was pulled over for driving Greenwald's car. Police said he had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation in Alabama.
Police searched the trunk and found the blood-covered bat and wrappings. Police said Savell led them to Greenwald's body.
Hoffman, 31, was referred to as the "other party" in Savell's initial probable cause affidavit, but Palm Beach County court records show that he was arrested in August 2014 on charges of first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and kidnapping.