HOLIDAY — The man charged with brutally murdering and raping the 22-year-old mother of his son said he feels neither sadness nor remorse.
"I have never been more at peace with myself, ever," Thomas Cacacie, 26, said Monday during an interview with the Times at the Land O'Lakes jail. "I feel like now she's in a better place. … I'm kind of happier now knowing no one else can touch her."
Cacacie was unapologetic during his gruesome retelling of the murder of Sarah Ann Capps, his longtime girlfriend with a past as dark as his. He said he loved her. He said he killed her. And he welcomed the spare accommodations of a life in prison — far better, he said, than his "out there" life as a heroin addict fantasizing of murder.
"I know I'm not going to die a junkie," he said. "For the rest of my life, the taxpayers are going to pay everything for me."
Cacacie said he punched and slowly strangled Capps about 3:30 a.m. Friday, a week after he had traveled from New York to reunite with her. He said he sexually assaulted her body, cleaned her in a bathtub and sent a picture of her corpse to a friend in Virginia Beach.
That woman's call to the police led Pasco deputies to Capps' Golden Nugget Drive apartment 10 hours after the murder. Cacacie had spent the morning outside in a white plastic chair, smoking a cigar and drinking a Coke. When investigators arrived, he was standing across the street with onlookers, watching.
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Cacacie said he had beaten, abused and fantasized of killing Capps often during their six-year relationship. In 2006, on Mother's Day, Cacacie said, he nearly strangled Capps for having sex with another man. In 2007, he went to state prison for two years for domestic violence against her. And in 2009, after he moved back in with Capps, his plan to kill her before she went to work one morning failed only because he overslept.
In July, Cacacie checked into a Pasco mental health facility for depression and thoughts of murder. He told nurses he had left his job as a line cook in Crystal River to move in with Capps in Holiday, that she had promised they could "start anew and be a family," but that his dreams of killing her never went away.
Nurses at the Harbor Behavioral Health Care center in New Port Richey told deputies these types of threats were common among patients, but that Cacacie's seemed more earnest. He appeared, a discharge planner said, "very calm and very matter-of-fact." They alerted deputies, who told Capps of the threats. She said she would move within the week.
Cacacie was released that month. Due to patient confidentiality, officials at the Harbor could not discuss his case.
In his discharge report, Cacacie wrote, "I don't have any plans. But if I stay in the area, I will go back to my son's mothers house and take her life."
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Cacacie said he and Capps met seven years ago — he was 19, she was 15 — as homeless kids on the streets of Tampa. He had run out on his adoptive parents, who he said beat and dosed him with psychotropic drugs. She had been kicked out of a Nebraska Avenue motel by her uncle, he said, for refusing to sell her body at a Circle K across the street.
Within a few years she gave birth to a daughter, Sierra, who wasn't his, and a son, Thomas J., who was. Both children were placed into state custody.
They grew closer as Capps entered and left foster care, Cacacie said, though their relationship was scarred with brutality and deceit. Cacacie, months into a heroin addiction, would lash out at Capps for going out by herself or seeing other men. The violence, he said, was "how I was brought up. I know how to scream and fight."
Cacacie had been arrested more than two dozen times, including once, when he was 14, on a charge of aggravated battery with a weapon. A 1998 judgment from his adoptive parents' divorce stated that he suffered from severe mental problems and needed long-term assistance to deal with anger.
Before Capps' murder, Cacacie said, he had moved to New York and enrolled in a drug detox program. When Capps invited him to stay with her, he dropped everything to move back down.
A month clean of heroin, he said, he grew bitter and angry when she went out to drink. He said he had packed his bags to leave again when she stopped him the night of her murder. She told him she wasn't afraid of him, he said. That's when he attacked.
"Once it happened, it was like, all or nothing," said Cacacie, whose arm bears a prison tattoo of a woman dangling a man-puppet who is being jabbed by two demons — an image inspired, he said, by his relationship with Capps. "If I'm going to f--- up, why not just f--- up with a capital F?"
Cacacie told detectives "if he couldn't have her, no one could."
"It's a thousand times worse to be a junkie than a murderer," he said told the Times. Behind bars, he said, he and his family could know he was safe from heroin. "For me, out there — it scares me. I'm a junkie. There's comfort in this.
"I'm not using drugs or alcohol, I'm not fighting the police, I'm not raising my voice. Everything just feels so surreal," he said. "I can finally say it's over."