NEW PORT RICHEY — William Charles Johnroe flew into a rage when another homeless man whom Johnroe had asked to guard his backpack didn't do so.
Authorities say Johnroe, 33, pummeled Joseph "Guitar Joe" Fylipek, 29, in the face with a wooden acoustic guitar and tried to choke him. The fight between the men, both homeless, took place last year in the parking lot of a Dollar General store at U.S. 19 and State Road 52.
Johnroe was arrested and charged with attempted murder in the July fight. On Tuesday he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to a year in the county jail.
That's where he sits already, charged with killing a woman.
The same week Johnroe was arrested in the brawl with Fylipek, two witnesses called authorities with a story that Johnroe had clubbed a transient woman in the head, killing her.
It had been about a month since the killing, but the witnesses — a homeless man and woman — said they had been too frightened to come forward. Johnroe had threatened them, they said.
The female witness told authorities that Kimberly Sue Goode had been flirting with her at a homeless camp near the USA Fleamarket on U.S. 19 in Hudson. Johnroe, who was the witness' boyfriend at the time, got angry at Goode and bashed her in the head several times with a wooden object, reports the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The male witness said he helped Johnroe move Goode's body to some woods and covered her with a tent and palm fronds.
It took a month for authorities to identify Goode's remains.
Johnroe, records show, was first arrested at age 12 in Michigan, accused of burglary and stealing a car.
In 1994, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for carrying a concealed weapon and criminal sexual conduct by force.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6245.