State builds death-penalty case against accused Sebring SunTrust killer

More than two years have passed since a man walked into the Sebring SunTrust bank and opened fire, killing five women inside. It's a crime that rocked the Highlands County community to its core.   

The state of Florida continues to build its case against accused shooter, Zephen Xaver. And we're seeing some of the aspects of his past that they're using as evidence.

January 23, 2019 forever changed the city of Sebring. Xaver, now 24 years old, is accused of walking into the SunTrust branch and gunning down four employees and a customer.

Xaver called 911, then barricaded himself inside. He's charged with five counts of premeditated murder.

This month, the State Attorney's Office filed a notice of supplemental discovery, noting new witnesses. That list includes family members and a former girlfriend who's spoken of Xaver's fascination with the idea of killing and his dreams of killing students at his Indiana high school.

"The state's looking at what led this person to do such a heinous act," said criminal defense attorney Anthony Rickman, who's not connected to the case. "So, they're gathering everything this individual has done in his life to get a good picture of who he was, what he was doing and why he ultimately did what he did."

The state will look at Xaver's school records and police reports involving those dreams, as well as a Michigan police report detailing messages he sent that he was "possibly thinking about suicide by cop and taking hostages."

The state is analyzing things like Xaver's cell phone data, his application to Sebring Police Department, social media accounts and video game profile.

"Here we see the state discovering his Facebook, social media, his Xbox profile, to see that if this person is playing violent video games, was he involved in any sort of communication with anybody on the computer," Rickman said. "Did he look up on the internet, anything related to this offense? Did he try and purchase firearms in the past? Was there any pattern or propensity of him to commit these offenses?"

State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Xaver. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Xaver did it while seeking the answer so many have -- why?

"The state has got to prove those aggravating factors, number one, that a crime was committed in a cold, calculated matter," Rickman said. "Number two, that it was exceptionally atrocious or heinous, and three, that he either had a prior felony offense or was a convicted felon in the past."