According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Charles Anthony Foster of Seffner was charged with the murder of two Seffner roommates last week in a mobile home park near Interstate 4. Foster has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery with a weapon.
Foster was reportedly a friend and frequently visited the victims, Joshua Deas and Kenneth Simmons.
Deas’ mother discovered the bodies in the mobile home where they lived. Both victims allegedly had injuries to their upper bodies. The sheriff’s office indicated that these wounds apparently came from an edged or weighted instrument such as an axe or a hatchet.
In the course of their investigation, detective determined Simmons’ 1998 Isuzu Rodeo had been stolen along with items from the home. Detectives also learned Foster tried to cash a check from Simmons’ checking account and withdraw money from an ATM using Deas’ debit card. Video surveillance captured Foster driving Simmons’ Isuzu Rodeo and pawning items that belonged to Deas, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deas’s mother told the media that Foster and Deas met as teenagers and were as close as brothers.
Having charged Foster with first-degree murder, the State will have to decide soon whether or not to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors have 15 days to file a notice if they intend to seek the death penalty. The notice is filed as part of a procedure for cases that have elements that might make the death penalty appropriate.
If they choose not to do so, Foster faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder. Under Florida law, murder in the first degree is the unlawful killing of a human being “when perpetrated from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being.” The law does not fix the exact period of time that must pass between the formation of the premeditated intent to kill and the killing. The period of time must be long enough to allow reflection by the defendant. A jury might also consider several lesser-included offenses including second-degree murder or manslaughter.