Manhunt intensifies for suspect in Pasco homeless murder

HUDSON – Detectives have obtained a first-degree murder warrant for the homeless man accused of bludgeoning another vagrant to death in a patch of woods.

Robert Allen Shelly has been at large since Saturday morning, when the body of Darrell Bland was found in the woods behind the Perkins restaurant at U.S. 19 and State Road 52.

Detective Tim Harris said the small encampment was Bland's turf, and he didn't want Shelly there.

The two had an argument a few days before the murder, when Bland came back to the camp and found his tent-mate was allowing Shelly to stay there, the detective said.

Bland, 53, ordered Shelly to go, a witness later told deputies.

"You can't tell me to leave," Shelly replied, according to the witness account. Harris said the argument never became physical.

A few days later, while the men were sitting around a campfire, Shelly caught Bland by surprise and bashed him in the forehead with a fire log, Harris said. Shelly kept bashing, authorities said, until Bland was dead.

Bland's tent-mate, whose name has not been released, witnessed the attack and reported it to deputies on Saturday morning.

Shelly, 50, is still on the loose and dangerous, said deputies, who believe he is carrying a bowie knife.

Harris called him a "violent individual, definitely a danger to the public."

Deputies aren't sure Shelly is still in Pasco. "Word spreads pretty fast between (homeless people) between the soup kitchens and homeless shelters and whatnot," Harris said.

Detectives on Wednesday got a first-degree murder warrant for Shelly's arrest, which means warrants detectives will join road patrol deputies and other detectives in the man hunt.

. How to help

Reward offered

Robert Shelly, 50, is wanted on a warrant for first-degree murder. He is 6-feet-2, about 220 pounds, with blue eyes, blond hair and a medium build. Authorities say he is dangerous and may be armed, so no one should approach him. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to Shelly's arrest. Anyone with information can call 1-800-873-8477 or go to www.crimestopperstb.com.

Manhunt intensifies for suspect in Pasco homeless murder 01/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:51pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...