HOLIDAY — Nick Seriganis needed a place to stay, and Vincent Santoro III had an extra room.
The two had met in prison, but Santoro's father doesn't think his son really knew who he was inviting into his home.
Seriganis, state records show, has a 14-year arrest history, prison stints for burglary and a sex crime on a child, plus a conviction as a sexual predator. Santoro had served a few months for a marijuana conviction.
When Vincent Santoro Jr., the father, questioned his son about letting Seriganis move in, the reply was, "He needs a place, Dad."
On Sept. 15, sheriff's officials say, the two men got into an argument at the house on Brompton Drive in Holiday Lake Estates.
But Seriganis, 28, ended it when he picked up a 20-pound dumbbell and struck Santoro with it, the Sheriff's Office said Friday.
Santoro, 24, was found two days later by family members.
"He was big-hearted. That's kind of how he ended up in that position," his father said.
Santoro's oldest sister, Paula, called him generous and sweet.
"He always put his family first," she said.
Seriganis, whose current address is in Tarpon Springs, faces a charge of first-degree murder. When the murder charge came down Friday, he was already in jail for warrants including failure to register as a sexual predator, fraudulent use of a credit card, grand theft and failing to appear on a traffic charge. He is being held without bail.
Just a few months before he died, Santoro had started his own property maintenance business.
He had been working for his father in construction, but business had slowed.
So he found a new path.
"He was just starting," his father said.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6245.