Convicted murderer running for Florida city council seat asks voters for redemption

A convicted murderer could be Palm Bay’s next city council member.

Michael Bruyette is running for Seat 3. It’s his first time running for office.

"It kind of sounds funny coming from me, but I’m against crime," said Bruyette during an interview with FOX 35 News at City Hall.

It may sound funny because "nearly 40 years ago, I was convicted of murder in the state of Massachusetts," said the candidate.

That murder conviction landed him in prison for 30 years.

"I was protecting a woman, and I paid the consequences of it. I don’t cry about it. I don’t complain about it," he said. "I broke the law and had to do the time."

In his parole release document from the state, Massachusetts prosecutors say Michael Bruyette was 19 when he beat a man to death. At the time, Bruyette claimed, the woman was being abused by her estranged husband. 

"I paid my price. I’m just asking for a chance now," said Bruyette.


Fast-forward 15 years, Bruyette started over in Florida. Now, he’s asking for a second chance from Palm Bay voters. The big issues he’s fighting for are helping at-risk teenagers, bringing in business, and getting more resources for police officers.

"I’m very passionate about these issues, and I’m willing to go in and fight for this," he said.

FOX 35 wanted to verify whether a man convicted of murder can hold elected office in Florida.

"It would seem that he can because of Article 6, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution," said board-certified Florida criminal trial expert Geoffrey Golub.

However, things would have been different if he had committed the crime in Florida.

"Anybody convicted, as soon as they get out, they’re done with their sentence, they can get their civil rights back. Except for people convicted of murder and sexual battery," said the attorney.

People convicted of murder and sexual battery in Florida can get their rights back, but they have to have a special hearing.

Bruyette said his parole officer gave him the green light, and he is listed as an active candidate on the election website. Right now, he’s the fifth person running for Seat 3 on the city council in Palm Bay.