Plastic Surgeon Faces Murder Charges for Stetson Law Alumni’s Disappearance

April 13, 2023 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

The disappearance of a St. Petersburg attorney has resulted in a Tampa-based doctor being charged with first-degree murder. In Florida, first-degree murder is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with, as the penalties include life in prison or the death penalty.

This page will provide information on the case along with Florida’s first-degree murder charge.

What was the Incident?

Dr. Tomasz Kosowski, 44, was arrested for the murder of a Florida lawyer who went missing on March 20. According to the report, Stetson alumni Steven Cozzi was last seen on Thursday at his office at Blanchard Law. Cozzi was representing Kosowski’s former co-workers who he was suing over a business dispute.

The dispute was regarding Dr. Kosowski’s insurance billing from when he began working at Laufer Institute of Plastic Surgery in 2016. Kosowski claimed the person in charge of his billing had been lying to his patients and resulted in him losing around $50,000 a month. It also resulted in him gaining negative reviews of his work online.

Kosowski had filed the lawsuit against his former co-workers four years ago. Blanchard Law—where Cozzi worked as an attorney—was representing the opposing party.

The lawsuit paperwork included the statement: “Dr. K’s promising young career has essentially been obliterated…Through no fault of his own, his career was put directly in jeopardy and his reputation has been deeply tarnished.” 

Although Cozzi’s body has yet to be found, Largo police had enough evidence to arrest Dr. Kosowski on a first-degree murder charge on Saturday. Police stated they uncovered Cozzi’s wallet, phone, and keys inside the law office. There was surveillance video showing Kosowski entering Cozzi’s office building wearing jeans and black gloves. Kosowski left the building a couple of hours later with what appeared to be a human body wrapped in a blanket. There was also a significant amount of blood inside the office bathroom.

Reports of a suspicious vehicle and person at the law office led police to Kosowski. After searching the doctor’s home in Tarpon Springs, police found additional evidence which led to his arrest.

Dr. Kosowki is being held without bond at the Pinellas County Jail.

The St. Petersburg Bar Association also posted on their Facebook regarding Cozzi’s death: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those close to Steve—both personally and professionally.”

First-Degree Murder Charges

One of the most severe offenses a person can commit is taking another person’s life. The legal definition and penalties for first-degree murder fall under Florida Statute Section 782.04. Under Florida law, a person can face first-degree murder charges for the premeditated death of another human. Premeditation implies that the defendant planned the murder prior to acting it out.

A person can also face first-degree murder charges for killing another person during the commission or attempt of another specific felony. A felony murder includes the death of another person during a robbery, sexual battery, arson, kidnapping, or any other felony offense outlined under Florida Statute Section 782.04(2).

A person who has been charged with first-degree murder faces a capital felony offense. In Florida, the penalties for a felony offense include either life imprisonment without parole, or the death penalty.

First-degree murder charges typically result in a long and complex legal process. This may include a grand jury, pretrial hearings, and a trial jury. If convicted, the defendant will either be sentenced to life in prison or capital punishment. It’s important to note that each case is different, and the legal repercussions will vary depending on the details of the case.

To read more about the various murder charges and their penalties in Florida, read our informative page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Florida is one of the remaining states that implement the death penalty, which means it is especially important to speak with a legal representative if you have been accused of murder. Violent crimes come with harsh penalties, and if the victim has died the State will likely push for the harshest punishment. One way to protect yourself is by working with a defense attorney in your area. A Tallahassee criminal defense attorney can gather and review all case details, build a supporting defense for your case, and fight for your freedom.

Don Pumphrey and his team have represented clients across the state of Florida. We understand the difficulties of navigating the legal landscape. We aim to provide over-the-top legal guidance, and vow to stand in your corner throughout the entire process. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today and receive a free consultation regarding your case. Call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website. 

Written by Karissa Key

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