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Homeless man arrested in slaying of appraiser in Brooksville

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story ran in some regional editions.

BROOKSVILLE — Police arrested a homeless man Wednesday night in the slaying of Brooksville real estate appraiser Steven Floyd Van Slyke.

The suspect, Monty Gregg Albright, 35, will face a charge of first-degree murder and was set to be booked into the Hernando County Jail late Wednesday, Brooksville police Chief George Turner said.

Albright, who along with two other men had been identified earlier in the day as "persons of interest" in the case, was found hiding in a Brooksville house about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Turner said. Albright was taken into custody and interviewed at the Police Department, where the chief said Albright admitted to killing Van Slyke.

"He was sort of hiding out in a drug house," Turner said. "We just followed some leads and some evidence, and it led us to this arrest."

The other two men sought by police have been identified, but Turner did not release their names immediately. One of the men was being questioned at the Police Department while the other was still being sought, Turner said.

Turner would not disclose a motive for the slaying but said Van Slyke was strangled.

"We're still in the middle of interviews," Turner said. "We'll release (the motive) when we see how everything turns out."

Van Slyke, 58, was found dead inside his home at 27 Cherry St. on Tuesday afternoon by a friend who entered the home, according to police.

An autopsy of Van Slyke's body was set for this morning, Turner said. It was the first homicide in Brooksville this year.

Van Slyke's beige two-story home is in a quiet, oak tree-shaded neighborhood on the north side of Brooksville, about one block south of Hernando High School. Hernando County property records indicate Van Slyke has owned the house since 1983.

Well known within Hernando County real estate circles, Van Slyke was co-owner of a home appraisal service called Van Slyke & Jessop. He had once been president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors.

Eric Jessop is co-owner of the appraisal service and recently listed his address as the same as Van Slyke's. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Turner, however, said Van Slyke lived alone.

Hernando Association of Realtors president Marilyn Pearson-Adams said Van Slyke's death came as a blow to the tight-knit group of local Realtors.

"It's a great loss to our community," Pearson-Adams said. "There is a hole in our hearts that may never be filled."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Homeless man arrested in slaying of appraiser in Brooksville 01/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 11:04pm]
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