Thirty-nine-year-old David Rhea, a commercial fisherman from Pinellas Park, was shot and killed in his home last May. Three men then demanded money from Rhea’s mother and fled the residence.
Cody Dials, Randy White and Zachary Perrine have now been charged with first-degree murder in relation to Rhea’s death.
Dials and White were close friends to the Rhea family when they were in high school, even living at the Rhea house at times, according to the media.
Witnesses told police that they observed Dials, White and Perrine planning a robbery on the night of May 6th during a party in a motel room. One witness said that the three were in the motel room, taking things out of a bag – latex gloves, a BB gun, a ski mask – and putting them in a small white Dickies bag. The witness also saw a handgun in Dials’ pocket.
According to police, Dials called Rhea’s house at 2 a.m. that night. Rhea’s daughter answered and Dials asked her for a ride from the Park Place mall. She left to pick Dials up but he wasn’t where he said he would be.
At 2:45 a.m., according to court documents, David Rhea’s mother, Shirley Rhea, was startled awake. She heard her son say he had been shot. When she went to find him, she saw him hunched over with two or three masked men at his side.
She told police that one of the men pointed a gun at her and demanded cash. She reached in her wallet and handed him $2,000. The robbers fled.
David Rhea had been shot twice. He died at the hospital.
Witnesses told police that Dials, White and Perrine arrived back at the motel, wet and dirty, wearing different clothes than they left in. The trio locked themselves in the bathroom, where others heard them counting. They then saw the three dividing a stack of cash.
Police found discarded latex gloves, a $100 bill, a gun magazine and bullets, a black ski mask, and a small white Dickies bag in various locations in the vicinity of the Rhea house. In the driveway of another house, a BB gun was stashed under a pickup. From the truck, forensic technicians lifted a palm print which matched Zachary Perrine, according to law enforcement.
Each young man faces a life sentence if convicted.