The Associated Press
Psychiatrist Gets 15 Years For Manslaughter Conviction
June 11, 1981

Psychiatrist Louis Tsavaris

Psychiatrist Louis Tsavaris

Dr. Louis Tsavaris has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the strangling of a former patient-lover, but at least one juror believes the psychiatrist “got away with murder.”

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Harry Lee Coe handed down the maximum penalty Wednesday. Tsavaris originally was accused of first-degree murder, but jurors found him guilty of manslaughter Tuesday.

Despite objections from prosecutors who wanted the doctor in custody, Coe said the 51-year-old psychiatrist could remain free on bond pending appeal — a process attorneys say could take a year.

Prosecutors claimed Tsavaris strangled Cassandra Burton six years ago after he ended their affair, and the 23-year-old secretary threatened to tell his wife.

Dr. John Feegel, the former county medical examiner who performed the autopsy, testified there were no tell-tale marks of strangulation on her body.

The defense insisted that Miss Burton, a diabetic and epileptic, died of natural causes. Five pathologists gave complicated and sometimes conflicting medical testimony during the 12-day trial.

Juror Linda Hutchinson, who sobbed in the jury box after the verdict was read, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that Tsavaris “got away with murder.”

“I felt he got off. I truly believe there’s a big difference between law and justice,” she said. “I was convinced he was guilty of murder. But you have to obey the law and work with the evidence.”