ORLANDO — Authorities have arrested a homeless man in connection to the first homicide in Celebration, Disney's master-planned central Florida community.
Authorities said they arrested 28-year-old David-Israel Murillo on Monday. They charged him with first-degree murder for the death of 58-year-old Matteo Giovanditto, who was slain in his home over Thanksgiving weekend.
Osceola County investigators say Murillo struck Giovanditto with a hatchet he found in a closet and slammed Giovanditto's head into the kitchen floor until the victim lost consciousness.
Murillo, who had been living at a campsite in Kissimmee, said Giovanditto tried to put something in his drink in an attempt to sexually assault him.
Giovanditto "was a sick man, and he got what he deserved," Murillo said while being escorted to a sheriff's car for a trip to the Osceola County Jail.
Neighbors, who hadn't seen Giovanditto since Nov. 24, the day of the killing, entered his condo five days later and found the body on the kitchen floor covered by a blanket, investigators said.
Giovanditto died of blunt-force trauma and strangulation, the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office determined.
Murillo was arrested Sunday in St. Cloud on a charge of dealing in stolen property. Investigators said he tried to sell coins he stole from Giovanditto's condo. Authorities on Monday added a first-degree murder charge.
Murillo and Giovanditto had met a year earlier but had no contact until recently, said Twis Lizasuain, spokeswoman for the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. Murillo made several calls to Giovanditto's home and cell phones hours before the killing, she said.
The suspect said he was at the condo because Giovanditto had offered him a job washing his car. Deputies said an argument fueled by alcohol led to the violence.
Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.