CLEARWATER — After he killed his former roommate Wednesday night, police said, Paul Alexander Denk went to a nearby convenience store for beer with blood on his shoes.
Then Denk, 58, went back to his ex-roommate's house at 1117 Turner St. and called the police. He told them that he had found 54-year-old Amy Lynne Arnold dead.
But neighbors had heard the two arguing, and police said Denk's story was inconsistent.
Denk moved to Clearwater from Kansas three months ago and had been living with Arnold temporarily until she kicked him out last week. The two knew each other because Arnold's sister had been married to Denk's brother years ago, police said.
Denk came back to the house Tuesday night, police said, but Arnold refused to let him in. Instead, he slept on top of the carport. Denk tried to return a second time Wednesday night. When Arnold wouldn't let him inside, he broke in and killed her, police said.
"Somehow he was able to force his way inside and cut her with something. We're not sure what it was," said Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw. "He said he just happened to find her. But there were holes in his story."
Police believe the fatal confrontation happened about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, and Denk went to the store about 11:45 p.m. Denk called the police about 1 a.m. Thursday.
Police arrested Denk on a charge of first-degree murder Thursday morning. He's being held in the Pinellas County jail without bond.
Clearwater police say Denk has a lengthy criminal record in Kansas, where he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, burglary, DUI and domestic battery.
Arnold's house on Turner Street is east of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Police say that after Arnold was stabbed, Denk walked around the corner to the Roadrunner Food Store on Chestnut Street at MLK Avenue.
"He went on a beer run with his feet covered in blood," Shaw said.
Dora Casler, a longtime clerk at the store, wasn't on duty Wednesday night, but she spoke Thursday morning of how she had known Arnold for years. She said Arnold cleaned condos and homes, and had worked at a local dry cleaner's.
"She came here every morning," Casler said. "She always wanted to know if you had any houses to clean, any laundry to do. She was a working woman."
Staff writer Claire Wiseman and researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Mike Brassfield can be reached at (727) 445-4151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.