ST. PETERSBURG — A 44-year-old boat dweller who skipped town on an attempted murder charge was recently re-captured in Jamaica after six months on the run.
He was returned to the United States this week, authorities said.
Jay Alan Farmer was arrested in June 2009 and accused of stabbing a man outside the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Bystanders chased him down and held him for officers.
Farmer was released from Pinellas County Jail on $50,000 bail a few days later. After missing some court appearances, he just disappeared.
An arrest warrant was issued in January, but he had fled to Jamaica, authorities said. He lived on a boat in St. Petersburg's North Yacht Basin at the time of his arrest, authorities said, but no local or federal law enforcement agency seems to know how Farmer got to Jamaica.
"He may be the only one who can tell you," said Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney David Tobiassen.
Jamaican authorities, however, didn't want him there. They picked him up on the U.S. warrant and held him until federal agents came for him July 24, according to Deputy U.S. Marshal Ron Lindbak.
Two marshals escorted Farmer back, landing in Miami Sunday.
He was returned to the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday morning and appeared before a Pinellas-Pasco Circuit judge Thursday, pleading not guilty to a charge of failing to appear in court.
He also pleaded not guilty to the original charges of first-degree attempted murder and resisting an officer without violence.
His new bail was set at $250,013. "I would say that's pretty good," Tobiassen said.
According to police, Farmer knew the victim. Both were boat dwellers in St. Petersburg. The victim approached Farmer as he sat on a bench to talk to him about the handmade jewelry Farmer was known to make. Farmer claimed the victim was trying to buy drugs, police said, and that he was scared of him.
He ended up stabbing the victim and chasing him, police said. Farmer captured the events on a tape recorder to back his version, but police said the tape only bolstered the victim's allegations.
"It didn't help him," said St. Petersburg Detective Joe DeLuca. "It was him yelling at the (victim)."
It wasn't the first time Farmer has faced serious criminal charges. He was convicted of manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a license suspended or revoked in Hillsborough County in 1987.
An April 24, 1987, St. Petersburg Times article said Farmer was accused of running down and killing a 12-year-old boy while racing another car.
Farmer tried to flee then, witnesses said, but ended up losing control and crashing into a ditch. He was 21 at the time. His sentence in that case was not available Friday.
Times researchers John Martin and Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8472.