Thomas Cacacie spent years fantasizing about killing the mother of his son and, after he did it, he told the Times he'd never felt more serene. He said he welcomed incarceration. He said he was no longer a heroin addict obsessively devising his ex-girlfriend's murder and the things he wanted to do with her body.
"I know I'm not going to die a junkie," Cacacie told the Times in October 2010, days after he murdered Sarah Ann Capps, 22.
"For the rest of my life, the taxpayers are going to pay everything for me."
Recently Cacacie, now 27, got his wish: He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, minus the time he served in the Pasco jail. His current release date from the Florida Department of Corrections, is Sept. 23, 2050. He will be 65 years old.
"It's not enough," said Michael Vaporis, 49, who lived across the street from Capps. "Forty years for a life? No."
Vaporis said Capps hadn't been at her apartment on Golden Nugget Drive in the Dodge City area of Holiday for very long. He overheard her talking to friends about how she was trying to start a new life. She said she was trying to hide from Cacacie, her long-term on-again-off-again boyfriend. She had two children, a girl and a boy. Cacacie was the boy's father, he said. Both children were in state custody. She worked in telemarketing but hoped to go to culinary school one day, neighbors said.
"She was a sweetheart of a person," Vaporis said.
Cacacie told the Times he and Capps met as homeless kids on the streets of Tampa when he was 19 and she was 15. Cacacie was adopted and said he had run away. He told the Times Capps had been kicked out of a motel by her uncle for refusing to prostitute herself. They grew close as Capps was in and out of foster care, Cacacie said.
He told the Times he had beaten, abused and fantasized about killing Capps throughout their relationship. On Mother's Day in 2006, he nearly strangled her. In 2007, he went to prison for two years for domestic violence against her. And in 2009, after moving back in with Capps, he planned to kill her one morning but he overslept.
Months before the murder, Cacacie checked into a Pasco mental health facility for depression and his thoughts of killing Capps. Health workers notified deputies, who warned Capps. Cacacie was released and, in his discharge report, he wrote:
"I don't have any plans. But if I stay in the area, I will go back to my son's mothers house and take her life."
He went to New York and entered a drug rehabilitation program.
His stepmother, Sandra Cacacie, said Cacacie was adopted from Ecuador at 6 months old, but he hadn't been touched or hugged or shown any kindness during his first few months of life. He was already broken by the time her husband got him, she said, and he worsened after his adoptive parents divorced. He didn't want to be touched. He punched holes in the walls. His first arrest was in 1998, a charge of aggravated battery with a weapon, just days after his 14th birthday.
Doctors said he had detachment issues and was bipolar and schizophrenic, Sandra Cacacie told the Times after her stepson's arrest in 2010. She said doctors never found a good mix of medications. She said her husband spoke to Cacacie shortly he came back to Florida to be with Capps. She said Cacacie sounded better and was shocked that he left.
"He knew not to even come back to Florida," she told the Times.
Cacacie said Capps contacted him and asked him to move back in with her. He killed her because after two days, she decided she didn't want to be with him anymore, he said to the Times. It gave him a chance to do what he planned for years — to strangle Capps and have sex with her body while watching pornographic videos.
He later told investigators it wasn't what he imagined it would be, a report states.
He sent a photo of Capps' body to a friend, who then contacted authorities. Cacacie never left the neighborhood or tried to flee. The morning after he killed Capps, her corpse still inside the residence, Cacacie sat outside her apartment, drank a Coke, smoked a cigar and said hello to neighbors, witnesses said.
"I have never been more at peace with myself, ever," he told the Times after his arrest. "I feel like now she's in a better place. … I'm kind of happier now knowing no one else can touch her."
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.