WEST PALM BEACH —On the day they watched a judge sentence Darrell Telisme to life in prison for shooting their son to death, Camita and Elieux “Stan” Stanisclasse had a simple explanation for the 26-year-old amateur boxer’s demeanor on the witness stand in his own defense a day earlier.
“He was trying to cover up what he did,” they both said of Telisme’s repeated contradictions, including claims that the statement he appeared to freely give to detectives after the 2015 shooting of mixed martial arts fighter Stan Stanisclasse was made “under duress.”
Telisme’s attorney, Scott Skier, meanwhile, was already laying the groundwork for an appeal of Telisme’s first-degree murder conviction using the man’s own testimony as ammunition. It’s not that Telisme didn’t want to answer any questions, Skier says. It’s that he couldn’t.
Skier said a doctor diagnosed Telisme as “low functioning,” a diagnosis Skier had hoped he could present to jurors through the doctor’s testimony. But Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath blocked him from presenting the testimony after Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott objected, saying Skier never gave notice that he was pursuing an insanity defense.
Dr. Hyman Eisenstein was originally hired to evaluate Telisme when his defense team explored a possible defense that head trauma from Telisme’s boxing career and an earlier fight with Stanisclasse led him to shoot Stanisclasse. Without Eisenstein’s testimony, Skier said there was only one way he could prove to jurors that Telisme had a diminished mental capacity.
“I had to put him on the stand,” Skier said in court, later adding: “Given the state of Florida law, this defense was a Herculean task.”
Skier formally filed a notice of appeal with Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal last week. He hopes to persuade the appellate court to throw out Telisme’s conviction based on claims that Colbath should have let Eisenstein testify.
The Stanisclasses late last month said they hoped the higher court rejects the appeal, calling the life sentence closure to the horrific way their son died at age 23.
According to prosecutors and witnesses in the case, Stanisclasse — a professional mixed martial arts fighter, boxer and wrestler who boasted a 9-0 professional record — had beaten Telisme up outside a West Palm Beach eatery on the eve of Thanksgiving after the two of them sparred verbally over who was the better fighter.
Telisme later showed up to Stanisclasse’s Palm Beach Shores apartment — he said it was to retrieve a video gaming system — and ended up shooting the Stanisclasse after a brief confrontation.
The Stanisclasses said their firstborn son, who his father called “Junior,” was the prize of their family.
The elder Stanisclasse said his son was having trouble paying attention in school, so they looked to sports as an outlet for him. He tried football and basketball, but didn’t like them.
His parents initially rebuffed his request to try boxing. But then, Elieux Stanisclasse said, he and his wife were driving one day on Military Trail headed towards Okeechobee Boulevard and saw a boxing center.
After a short discussion, they decided to let their son, then 16, try it.
“After two weeks of working with him, the trainer came to us, he was like ‘my God, it seems like this kid was born to be a boxer,’” Elieux Stanisclasse said.
A smile crossed the tearful father’s face last month as he remembered Stan’s first fight. He knocked out his opponent in 40 seconds.
The parents said they invested heavily in their son’s gift, but were even more proud of the knack he discovered for working on computers. He’d recently decided to return to school, his father said, and hoped to get a degree that would help him pursue a career in technology.
Just before his death, Stan’s father bought him a car to help him get back and forth from school and pursue his training. By then, they had heard of Telisme, but what they heard wasn’t good.
“Stan told us that he didn’t like his behavior,” Elieux Stanisclasse said of Telisme. “But he said they were friends.”