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Man accused of slaying gets 25 years on charges from car chase

BROOKSVILLE — John William Campbell had been scheduled to stand trial Tuesday, but it became unnecessary after he pleaded no-contest in December to charges that included attempted first-degree murder.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Campbell also faced charges of felony fleeing of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief.

Campbell, 38, was captured Aug. 11, 2010, after a chase that ended when he crashed into a Citrus County deputy's cruiser on U.S. 19, just north of Weeki Wachee. He had been wanted by authorities in the attempted robbery the day before of a Lowe's home improvement store on State Road 44 in Inverness.

But charges against Campbell didn't end there. Authorities also suspected that he killed his father, 68-year-old John Henry Campbell of Inverness, the day before the robbery.

Assistant State Attorney Richard Buxman said that Campbell's Hernando County charges were dealt with first at the court's request. A date for Campbell's murder trial in Citrus County has not been set.

Buxman said that the State Attorney's Office will be seeking the death penalty for Campbell.

The chase, which involved two law enforcement agencies, began as Campbell approached the Citrus-Hernando county border.

After Citrus deputies deployed stop sticks, the suspect, who had traveled in excess of 120 mph, veered off the road, and crashed into a Citrus deputy's unoccupied patrol car.

Deputy Sam Ruby, who was outside of the car at the time, suffered minor injuries from scattered debris. Campbell was taken into custody and flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for treatment of his injuries.

Citrus County deputies discovered the body of John Henry Campbell inside the home he shared with his son.

A medical examiner's report showed the cause of death was multiple chop and blunt-force head injuries, according to Citrus sheriff's officials.

In addition to his felony murder charge, John William Campbell's remaining charges in Citrus County include attempted strong-arm robbery, burglary and dealing in stolen property.

Campbell, who is being represented by the Public Defender's Office, is being held without bail in the Citrus County Jail.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

Man accused of slaying gets 25 years on charges from car chase 01/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 8:06pm]
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