POLK COUNTY, Fla. — State Attorney Brian Haas announced Wednesday he’s pursuing the death penalty against Haines City triple murder suspect Ernst Cherizard.
- Funeral Held for Family Killed in Haines City Triple Shooting
- Suspect in Haines City Triple Shooting Turns Himself In
- More Polk County stories
Cherizard is accused of killing his girlfriend, Eli “Jenny” Normil, her six-year-old daughter, Elizabelle “Bella” Frenel and his girlfriend’s mother, Nicole Guillaume. Normil and Guillaume were found dead at the scene on April 12, 2019. Frenel died at the hospital two days later.
Court documents reveal there was trouble in the couple’s relationship dating back to at least 2017, when Normil petitioned for a restraining order against Cherizard.
She accused him of punching her in the eye and wrote that she feared Cherizard would “do something stupid.” In the petition dated April 23, 2017, she said they were arguing about her pregnancy with his child, and she told him to get out of the car and get his stuff from her house.
She went on to say he constantly called her phone and popped up at her house uninvited and she didn’t want any contact with him.
The courts granted the temporary restraining order. She requested it be dismissed on May 4, 2017.
The following September, Winter Haven Police responded to couple’s apartment when Normil told officers Cherizard came home drunk and they got into an argument.
Normil accused Cherizard of grabbing her shirt and attempting to hold her in the apartment. Cherizard denied he got physical with her and said they were arguing over some money missing.
Normil told officers she was seven months pregnant with Cherizard’s twin children. Cherizard was arrested and charged with domestic battery, but Normil later told prosecutors to drop the case.
Father of Bella Frenel speaks out
Bella’s father, Henry Frenel, said he had no idea.
“Jenny used to always try to keep everything behind closed doors,” said Frenel.
Frenel said he knew Cherizard didn’t like his daughter, but he never thought he’d kill her.
“He used to say that, 'I don’t like your daughter. Your daughter look too much like you,'” Frenel explained. “He used to have another problem, too, because my daughter didn’t want to call him 'daddy.'”
Frenel said his daughter was everything to him, and he planned to pick her up that Saturday, the day after she was killed.
“I feel like I ain’t got nothing left, to be honest," he told us. "I didn’t even get a chance to say bye to her. That week I was supposed to take her to Chuck E. Cheese."
Frenel is glad the state attorney is pursuing the death penalty.
“I don’t have no type of respect. I don’t have nothing to [say] to [Cherizard]," he said. "I don’t have nothing for him but death."
Haas said there’d likely be one trial for all three victims. He anticipated several years would pass before the case goes to trial.