Additional criminal charges against Florida fugitive Brian Laundrie are “extremely likely” in the death of Gabby Petito — if he’s found alive, a Sunshine State prosecutor says.
“That’s coming,” said David Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County, adding that Laundrie’s decision to flee will also hurt his case if he’s ever caught and charged.
“At trial, his flight can come back to haunt him because the prosecutors can point to that,” Aronberg said during a recent interview with News Nation Now.
“In fact, it’s even in some jury instructions that says that if you flee, that is consciousness of guilt and juries hate it when you flee,” he said.
He refused to cooperate with police after returning home from the couple’s ill-fated cross-country trip without Petito, a 22-year-old Long Island native, on Sept. 1.
Petito’s body was found at a Wyoming campground on Sept. 19, with a coroner declaring her death a homicide — although the cause has not been released.
The FBI has led a massive manhunt for Laundrie and raided the Laundrie home last month, returning at least twice more for evidence.
Although Laundrie has not been charged in her death, he is the subject of a federal fraud warrant out of Wyoming for allegedly using someone else’s bank card to pocket at least $1,000 in cash and merchandise.
The feds have not revealed if it was Petito’s card.
According to Aronberg, Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, could also ultimately be implicated in the case if it turns out they helped their son flee or cover up a crime.
“The parents of Brian Laundrie, they have done everything possible to incriminate themselves in the court of public opinion,” the prosecutors said. “But in the court of the law, that is different.
“Under the law, to be charged as an accessory after the fact, you need to know that Brian committed a crime and then you have to do something to prevent his punishment or his arrest,” he said.
“So, for example, if they sanitized the van, that’ll get them hooked for a crime,” he added. “If they hid evidence, if they bought him a plane ticket to get out of town because they knew he was involved in a crime, then you would see prosecutors getting ready to file charges right away. But we don’t have that evidence yet.”