TAMPA — He never locked his door.
Neighbors knew they could come in as they pleased to talk with the 55-year-old man who lived in apartment No. 112.
That access may have led to his death Wednesday afternoon.
Police said witnesses saw Aaron Miley, 37, leaving that apartment at the University Oakwoods complex at 1 p.m. They saw blood on the door. They called 911.
When help arrived, it was too late for their neighbor.
He lay in his hallway, in his favorite red shorts and a pair of yellow socks, clutching a hole in his side, said Felicia Warren, 44, who lives upstairs.
"He was a good man," she said. "I'll miss him dearly calling out, 'Hey sweetie' as I got home from work."
Police had not identified the victim Wednesday night as they tried to locate relatives.
Miley was well-known in the neighborhood, too, even if not by name.
"He would sell you the socks off his feet," said neighbor Mindy Baake, 31.
Miley was sentenced to two years in prison in 1996 for burglary and dealing in stolen property, records show. Since his release, he has been arrested four times in Hillsborough County and charged with petit theft, two counts of battery and aggravated battery on a pregnant female.
Warren said early Wednesday morning she heard the victim shout for Miley to get out of his apartment. Miley eventually left.
But after police discovered the body at 1270 E 113th Ave. No. 112, neighbors pointed officers to Miley's place nearby, at 1276 E 113th Ave. No. 211.
When Miley came to the door, he had blood on his clothes, police said. He was questioned and later charged with murder.
People congregated Wednesday evening remembering the good-humored man who would be up at all hours of the night.
Baake used to pay his rent and bring him groceries because he was in a wheelchair. She said he told her his spine was injured during a robbery, and he was being treated at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center.
He didn't have any family in Tampa, he told his neighbors; they all lived in Kentucky. No relatives came to visit in the three years he lived at University Oakwoods, the neighbors said.
Warren said a man would deliver a large bag of medicine for him, full of asthma and other medications. At night, the man would hang out in front of his first-floor apartment in the courtyard. Until recently, his next-door neighbor kept him company, but she had a stroke.
The downstairs neighbor had has his moments of boisterousness. But she said it never inspired enmity with the people around him.
"I really liked him. He would always crack jokes," she said.
When she got home from work Wednesday afternoon, she saw Miley in the back of a police car.
"I don't know why this happened," Baake said.