Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Friend accused of Seffner double murder

SEFFNER — Sunday evening, Karen Deas discovered her 24-year-old son Joshua Austin Deas and his 34-year-old roommate Kenneth Simmons dead in their mobile home.

The killer likely used an ax or a hatchet, authorities believe.

Tuesday evening, a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy called Deas to tell her authorities had arrested a suspect in the double murder: Charles Anthony Foster, 23, also of Seffner.

She knew the name.

"I knew him very well," she said late Tuesday, after the Sheriff's Office announced murder and robbery charges against Foster. "He was like a brother to my son. He was one of my son's best friends. I don't understand this, and a lot of people are not going to understand this."

Foster faces two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery with a weapon, the Sheriff's Office said. He tried to fraudulently cash a check from Simmons' checking account and withdraw money using Joshua Deas' debit card, the Sheriff's Office said. He was also caught on a surveillance video driving Simmons' green Isuzu Rodeo and pawning things that belonged to Joshua Deas after the killings.

Deputies arrested Foster about 11:20 p.m. Monday at his home on Lindenview Lane — not on the murder counts but rather on a charge of violating an earlier probation for providing false information to a metal recycler.

Homicide detectives executed a search warrant at his home about 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Sheriff's Office, and murder and robbery charges were added after consultation with the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.

Foster remained held without bail Tuesday night at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Jail records show Foster has been arrested three times before, including a 2010 arrest for dealing in stolen property and providing false information to a metal recycler.

Foster and Joshua Deas met about 10 years ago, Karen Deas said Tuesday, when they both were teenagers. They played basketball together and later lived together. When asked if Tuesday's news came as a surprise, Karen Deas said: "Yes and no. I suspected him."

It's still unclear just when Deas and Simmons were killed. Karen Deas started worrying Sunday morning when her son didn't return text messages and phone calls. She drove to the Walmart in Valrico where he worked, but he hadn't shown up for his shift that day. Then she drove to the mobile home on N Parsons Avenue, where she found the bodies.

Joshua Deas and Simmons met at the Valrico Walmart, and Simmons later transferred to the Seffner location. Foster regularly visited the men at the mobile home where he later killed them, authorities said.

"I hope he gets what he deserves for what he did," Karen Deas said. "They didn't deserve this. Nobody deserves to die like this."

Times reporter Caitlin Johnston and news researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or [email protected]

Comments
Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

Ohio mom killed in street-racing crash ‘made mark in this world,’ says uncle she was visiting

TAMPA — Before Jessica Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter were fatally struck by a speeding black Mustang on Wednesday, the gray skies had turned blue so she took the baby out in the stroller. Her husband David had just completed his flight cert...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

Flashing beacons, lower speed limit are in the works on Tampa’s deadly Bayshore

TAMPA — Work is underway to improve pedestrian safety on Bayshore Boulevard, the signature Tampa roadway popular among walkers, joggers and bicyclists where a mother was struck and killed by a car Wednesday while pushing her 21-month-old daughter acr...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — The two cars raced each other along Bayshore Boulevard just before noon, witnesses told police. One was a black 2018 Mustang. The other a gold Nissan. They sped side-by-side, trading the lead, police said, despite the traffic and pedest...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

The Coast Guard announced Wednesday night that it has suspended the search for a man who was reported to have gone overboard from a cruise ship that left Tampa.Officials aboard the Carnival Paradise told the Coast Guard on Tuesday morning that Brian ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Sinkhole opens up near Bayfront Health’s Brooksville hospital

BROOKSVILLE — A large sinkhole opened up by Bayfront Health Brooksville hospital in a water retention pond between State Road 50 and the hospital’s parking lot, according to a hospital spokeswoman.The sinkhole poses no threat to hospital buildings, e...
Published: 05/23/18
Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

CLEARWATER — A months-long probe into abuse of sick leave within the fire department concluded this week with the resignation of a deputy chief and the release of an internal review.The city paid $93,816 in unearned or unauthorized sick time, benefit...
Published: 05/23/18
Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

BROOKSVILLE— An 87-year-old wrong-way driver died Tuesday night when she collided head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 8:50 p.m. on Sunshine Grove Road near Webster Street.Patri...
Published: 05/23/18
FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

A woman state authorities say was scammed out of $480,000 by two of her employees is an heiress to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Tuesday that the victim in the case is Helen Rich, 69, formerly Hel...
Published: 05/23/18