Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Attacker stabbed, ran over victim in South Tampa church parking lot, police say

TAMPA — An attacker stabbed a man and then ran over him early Thursday, leaving his dead body to be found under the car by a maintenance worker at a South Tampa church, authorities said.

Police said the victim was Rolando Rivera-Arroyo, 73, who they said had no address or known family in the area.

Sometime around 4 a.m., Rivera-Arroyo and another man, Michael Stuart Marston, 33, became engaged in a fight in the parking lot of Christ the King Church, 621 S Dale Mabry Highway, police said.

Investigators did not say what led to the confrontation. But they described what would have been a night of crime for Marston — starting with the burglary of a storage unit, leading to the killing, and culminating with a violent struggle against officers who tried to arrest him.

Police said they spotted Marston walking at Henderson Boulevard and Swann Avenue, near the church, around 4:15 a.m. He had a broken finger, and police took him to the nearby Memorial Hospital.

Investigators then determined he was a suspect in the murder. When officers tried to arrest him at the hospital, "he violently fought them," a Tampa police spokeswoman said. None of the officers was injured.

Earlier in the day, as crime-scene tape was strung around the church parking lot, Rivera-Arroyo's body could be seen lodged under a white Toyota sedan. A worker discovered it there around 5:45 a.m.

Investigators found an odd crime scene: What appeared to be blood stained the concrete past a pile of construction materials — buckets, insulation and tiles — scattered in the lot. A wheelchair was parked on the grass. It looked as if the confrontation began in the parking lot and moved to where the body was found in a carport in front of the church.

"Obviously, some kind of confrontation took place in the parking lot overnight," Lt. Mary O'Connor said during the investigation. "It's pretty awful."

Besides the second-degree murder charge, Marston also faces counts of littering, burglary of an unoccupied structure, petty theft, criminal mischief and obstructing or opposing an officer with violence, according to jail records.

Before the killing, police said, Marston had burglarized a storage area at his former wife's apartment in the 3300 block of DeLeon Street. He stole various items and damaged property there, police said. The property was found scattered at the murder scene.

State records show Marston had no criminal history in Florida until this arrest. He was being held this morning in the Hillsborough County jail without bail.

Times staff writers Marissa Lang and Robbyn Mitchell and Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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