SWFL assistant state attorney recognized for effort to solve cold cases
One of Southwest Florida’s state prosecutors is not often seen in the public eye, but he is earning accolades for bringing killers to justice and closure to grieving families.
This summer, Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association presented Assistant State Attorney Dan Feinberg the 2020 Eugene Berry Award. It’s given to one assistant state attorney out of thousands statewide. Eugene Berry was a prosecutor in Charlotte County who was murdered in his home.
Feinberg is leading a task force that is trying to solve Southwest Florida’s most horrific cold case crimes. He can recall every single piece of evidence from 31 years of prosecuting the region’s most stunning murders and cold cases.
“You have to really love what you do,” Feinberg said. “If you love what you do, being good at it comes easy.”
Leading the cold case unit for the State Attorney’s Office 20th Judicial Circuit, Feinberg finds solutions to cases that have stayed stagnant for years.
His philosophy, “I start over on a case,” Feinberg said. “From the 911 call, you are going to go to the responding deputies, then, go through all their reports. And you are going to ask them if they have notes, and you are going to re-interview them.”
It’s that attention to detail and the endless problem solving that brings results.
“It gives you hope,” Feinberg said. “Because that is what you have. You hope that things go the way they should when you want justice.”
Sharon Mcphillips’ daughter, 19-year-old Tara Sidarovich, was murdered in 2001. The Charlotte County case went cold. But 15 years later, Feinberg and a team of investigators brought two men to justice.
“I believe her mother’s life changed after she was told the people were convicted,” Feinberg said.
Along with recognition and the award by FPAA, Feinberg has the respect of his superior at the 20th Judicial Circuit.
“Dan is one of the best prosecutors I have ever worked with,” State Attorney Amira Fox said.
Fox says Feinberg receiving the Eugene Berry Award is a full-circle moment.
“Dan started his career in the Charlotte County office as Gene did,” Fox said. “Dan was head of the Charlotte County office as Gene was, and Dan has kept up a very strong relationship with Gene’s widow, Trudy.”
Feinberg has a few years before retirement. Until then, he plans to show up to work every day fighting for justice.
“It is very easy to go to work every day and just do the right thing,” Feinberg said.
Feinberg also played a key role in solving the Zombicon shooting case. With never-before-seen evidence, we looked at how chaotic the Zombicon scene was and why it was tough to bring a killer to justice.