Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Holiday man charged with murder in drug deal gone bad

HOLIDAY — Sheriff's deputies on Thursday charged a man they say murdered an 18-year-old man found in an abandoned car two weeks ago.

James Fitzgerald Barron, 21, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge after he told a witness that he shot Cedric Saunders on Dec. 9 and then covered up evidence of the killing, according to his arrest report.

Barron had set up a meeting with Saunders to buy cocaine, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. The men met twice, and Barron told the witness he shot Saunders four times with a handgun and stole 2 ounces of powder cocaine. Saunders was found dead that morning in the driver's seat of a blue Kia Rio near the corner of Merrilon Drive and Wellington Drive in Holiday Lake Estates.

Barron also told the witness that he took Saunders' keys so he could get into his house, authorities said.

During a recorded phone call set up by sheriff's deputies, Barron told the witness that there were "definitely no shell casings" left at the scene. When asked about getting rid of the gun, he said, "everything was gone that night."

About a week after the killing, Barron was arrested on multiple cocaine-related charges. While in custody, deputies secured a search warrant for Barron's home and found blood-spattered keys that matched the Kia Rio in which Saunders' body was found.

When questioned by detectives, Barron denied meeting or speaking with Saunders the night of the murder, the report said. He said he last spoke with him about five or six days earlier.

Cell phone records show that Saunders received three calls from Barron's phone within 30 minutes of the slaying. Barron said he pays for the phone but sold it to another man several weeks ago.

Barron was arrested in February on four charges of attempted murder. According to an arrest report, he fired two rounds into a car with four people inside after an argument at a gas station. That report listed Barron as a member of the "Lake Boyz" gang.

Prosecutors later reduced the charges to aggravated assault, and he was acquitted in July on all four counts. According to court records he pleaded guilty to two lesser charges, resisting arrest and felonious possession of a gun. He was sentenced to time served.

Barron, of Holiday, was being held Thursday without bail at the Pasco County jail.

Lee Logan can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Holiday man charged with murder in drug deal gone bad 12/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree


    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  3. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  4. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  5. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox


    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]