Father of woman left for dead in The Villages was told accused man’s family has ‘deep pockets’

Timothy Jacob Foxworth

The father of a woman left for dead after a fall from a golf cart in The Villages was warned by the prosecutor’s office that the accused man’s family has “deep pockets.”

A letter from the father of Shelly Osterhout, who died of a head injury in 2017, has been unsealed in the Sumter County Court file of 38-year-old Timothy Jacob Foxworth, who earlier this week was sentenced to probation in the case.

Richard Chapman, a former Villager who has since moved back to Michigan because of his 51-year-old daughter’s tragic death in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, penned the letter May 1 to Judge William Hallman III. The judge silently read the letter in court Monday, minutes before sentencing Foxworth.

Assistant State Attorney William James Catto was assigned the Foxworth case in 2017.

“Our first family meeting was held on Feb. 18, 2018 with Mr. Catto. At that time he informed us that Timothy was still (free) on $5,000 bond and it didn’t look good for trial. That the family had “DEEP POCKETS” and we didn’t have much of a chance for it to go to trial,” Chapman wrote in his letter to the judge.

That was apparently incomprehensible to Chapman, who had been hosting his daughter in The Villages on the night she suffered the fatal injury.

“We had two witnesses who testified they offered him help and he refused, then dragged her into the bushes and drove off. How can this be alright? Put yourself in our shoes and ask what you would do if this was your daughter,” the retired Saginaw, Mich. welder wrote.

Richard Chapman with his daughter Shelly on her wedding day.

Catto told Chapman that Foxworth’s attorney, Andrew Moses, had engaged the services of a forensic technology engineering firm that wrote a voluminous report concluding that Osterhout fell from the golf cart when Foxworth cut a sharp U-turn after realizing he was driving his parents’ golf cart in the wrong direction. The report inferred the fall was Osterhout’s fault.

Shelly Osterhout

That report played a huge role in the decision by the prosecutor’s office to reduce the charges against Foxworth to misdemeanors. He was sentenced Monday to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service.

Foxworth had been accompanied to court by his father, Roger Foxworth, who sold his Village of Gilchrist home and moved to North Carolina after his son’s arrest.

Father and son had been drinking together at City Fire at Brownwood on that fateful night in 2017 when the younger Foxworth met Osterhout, who was visiting The Villages from Fort Myers. They left together in his parents’ golf cart from which she fell, suffering the fatal head injury. Foxworth told police he “panicked,” dragged her body into a flower bed and drove away. She was discovered by Good Samaritans who called for an ambulance. She later died at Ocala Regional Medical Center.

Osterhout’s eldest son, Jacob, after the sentencing called Foxworth “weak.” He said the sentence “stinks.”