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Homeless man wanted in Pasco murder caught in Sarasota

After almost three weeks on the run, the homeless man accused of killing another homeless man was arrested Friday morning by police in Sarasota.

Deputies had been searching for Robert Shelly since Jan. 26, when the body of Darrel Bland was found in the woods behind a Perkins restaurant near the intersection of State Road 52 and U.S. 19. in Port Richey. After a spat over turf, Pasco detectives said, Shelly bludgeoned Bland to death with a firewood log.

Then, Shelly vanished.

Pasco sheriff's deputies released Shelly's mugshot and asked residents for tips. When they suspected Shelly made his way south, deputies worked with the Pinellas County and St. Petersburg Police Violent Crimes Task Force to comb the area. Pasco deputies also enlisted the U.S. Marshals Service Task Force and the Sarasota police as the search continued.

He was spotted in St. Petersburg at 11:14 a.m. Wednesday inside a Publix at 3900 66th St. N, deputies said. He was seen again at 6:41 p.m. Wednesday at a 7-Eleven store at 7612 Starkey Road in Seminole.

On Thursday morning, Shelly appeared in surveillance footage at City Food Mart, 5028 66th St. N. in St. Petersburg.

They received tips that Shelly was at a Sunoco Station at 1012 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota at 7:13 a.m. Friday and at a Publix at 1044 N. Tamiami Trail at 8:30 a.m., according to a news release from the Sarasota Police Department.

How Shelly made his way to Sarasota is not yet clear.

Authorities flooded the area around 10th Street and N Tamiami Trail.

Officers found Shelly at 9:22 a.m. at the 10th Street boat ramp and arrested him. He was being booked in the Sarasota County jail Friday afternoon on a charge of first-degree murder with no bail.

Homeless man wanted in Pasco murder caught in Sarasota 02/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:15pm]
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