More details have emerged in relation to a murder in Gibsonton that Hillsborough authorities have charged to a Lithia man.
According to court records, the sordid tale began in late April last year, when the soon-to-be victim was witnessed by a roommate leaving the mobile home they shared with a group of people with whom he spent several days earlier that month.
Last seen on April 27, the victim’s mother inquired after him on May 3, to no avail. She said she gathered up his belongings at the mobile home, but noted that his cell phone and tablet computer were not present in the trailer.
Upon later questioning, the suspect said the victim paid to sleep on a couch in the trailer, but he said he hadn’t seen the missing man since April 20. However, a witness cited in court documents told a different story, alleging that the suspect shot the victim several times in the torso before hiding the man’s body beneath the mobile home.
Subsequent investigation discovered that the suspect verbally threatened the decedent, and that the dead man’s blood was discovered on a mattress in the suspect’s room. In addition, witnesses allegedly told detectives that the suspect promised to harm the victim within a week of his murder.
Ultimately, detectives say the slaying involved illicit drugs and a lack of respect between the two. The pair could not agree upon details involving their customers, and the suspect was allegedly upset over a perceived insult the victim had uttered about him and his family.
Deciding to put an end to their differences, the suspect allegedly returned to the trailer, gun in hand, and shot him three times. The suspect then hid the freshly-deceased body beneath the mobile home and cleaned the blood from the area. The investigation began on October 3 when a maintenance man reported a skeletonized body in the lot.
The suspect was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on January 4 on charges of second-degree murder and evidence tampering. Prosecutors have since upgraded his charge to that of first-degree murder. He’s currently being held without bond.