Monday, August 20, 2018
Public safety

St. Pete police: Witnesses said man showed off body in his shed

ST. PETERSBURG — Angelo Dante Beckford invited some people over to his house. He had something he wanted to show them inside a shed in the back yard.

It was the body of a woman, police said.

Those guests went to St. Petersburg police headquarters just before noon Monday and reported what they saw.

"He invited them to come and take a look at what he had," said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez. "This was disturbing to the folks."

Police swarmed the Bartlett Park home at 524 16th Ave. S later that afternoon, arresting the resident after a brief chase and launching a homicide investigation.

This is what police said happened after they got the tip:

Officers were dispatched to the dark purple house with a chain link fence and saw a man, later identified as Beckford, running from the home. They caught up to the 40-year-old convicted felon and said he had drugs on him.

They arrested him on a charge of possession of crack cocaine.

The SWAT team then converged on the brick street and entered the home under "exigent circumstances," Fernandez said, to find the woman and anyone else who might be in distress inside the house.

At that point, Fernandez said, police didn’t know if the woman was alive, unconscious or dead.

SWAT members found the body. Police then waited for a search warrant that would allow detectives and crime scene technicians to legally enter the property and start collecting evidence, she said.

The identity of the woman found in the shed was not released by police on Monday. They also declined to name the people who contacted police because they are witnesses to a potential crime. Police also could not say how long the woman’s body had been kept inside the shed.

Beckford had just been released from state prison on April 1, state records show. He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in December 2008 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to court records. He also served a previous stint in prison for aggravated assault and felony battery charges.

Fernandez said the case highlights the importance of residents contacting police when they see or hear something suspicious.

"All of this unfolded because people trusted the police enough to come to us and talk to us," she said. "That’s really important to us."

Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

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