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Lealman Man Charged with Neighbor's Murder

Sylvester Johnson, a resident of Palace Mobile Home Park in Lealman, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his neighbor last week.

According to Pinellas County sheriff's detectives, Johnson went to Unit 447, where William David Casey lived, and stabbed him multiple times in the upper body. Casey's body was found later by a friend who stopped by to deliver food to Casey. Detectives allege the victim and the suspect knew each other as neighbors. They also claim they were able to link Johnson to the crime scene via fingerprints. No weapon was found.

Robbery may have been a motive, because the victim's wallet was taken, according to detectives.

According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Johnson has been in prison five times since 1984 for burglary, drugs, sexual battery and dealing in stolen property convictions. He got out of prison in December after serving time on a cocaine charge, and was due to be on probation until 2020.

Casey was arrested last June for trying to set up a sexual tryst with a 13-year-old girl and a Largo police detective posing as her mother. They arranged a meeting, where Casey was arrested on charges of traveling to meet a minor for sex acts and enticing a parent to commit a sex act with a child. Detectives searched Casey's computer and found six photographs described as child pornography, resulting in even more charges.

Court records show Casey pleaded guilty to the charges March 19. He was sentenced to two years of community control (a type of intensive supervised house arrest), followed by three years of probation. He registered as sex offender last week. Florida's sex offender database shows that more than 100 men registered as sex offenders and sexual predators live in the mobile home park.

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