A Florida fisherman charged with killing his father onboard a commercial fishing boat last month pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Fort Myers.

Casey Hickok, 32, of Copeland, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly bludgeoning his father, Robert Hickok, 54, to death while he slept aboard the F/V No Bitchin' about 66 miles west of Marco Island, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on March 19.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer boarded the boat after skipper Yamer Jesus Perez called officials for help on March 18. According to a federal court document, the Coast Guard swimmer found Robert Hickok dead with significant head and face injuries.

The boat was escorted to the Coast Guard station at Fort Meyers Beach.

Perez told Coast Guard investigators that he was making repairs to the boat's alternator using parts from a second alternator when Casey Hickok offered to help. Hickok then picked up the second alternator and walked to where his father was asleep. Perez told investigators that he heard Casey Hickok slam the alternator down near his father and then saw him strike the man in the head twice, according to the federal court document. Perez also reported that he saw Casey Hickok wielding a hammer and that it may have been used in the attack.

A grand jury indicted Hickok on March 27 on the charge of killing his father with “malice aforethought,” court records show. He is being held at Charlotte County Jail while he awaits trial.

A preliminary status conference in the case is scheduled for April 8, and a trial is scheduled to start May 6.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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