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Pasco drifter charged in death of homeless woman

PORT RICHEY — On July 20, two people called 911 and said they witnessed a murder. The killing happened a month earlier, but they were too scared to come forward because the killer had threatened them too. The witnesses — a man and woman — left Port Richey for Clearwater, which is where they called authorities.

"They realized they had to tell somebody," said Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

The witnesses came back to Port Richey to show deputies where the body was. It was under a broken tent in woods near a homeless camp by the USA Fleamarket at U.S. 19 and State Road 52.

By that time, the body had severely decomposed. It took another month for authorities to identify Kimberly Sue Goode, a 46-year-old drifter who was born in Indiana and lived in California before settling in Florida.

She had short brown hair, a tough look and had run-ins with the law: arrests in Pinellas for public urination, drinking alcohol in a city park and lewd and lascivious behavior. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office listed Goode's address as 5726 126th St. in Clearwater.

The female witness told authorities Goode had been flirting with her at the homeless camp near the flea market. The witness' boyfriend at the time — William Charles Johnroe, a 33-year-old transient from Michigan and registered sex offender who spent 13 years in prison — got angry at Goode and clubbed her in the head several times with a wooden object, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The male witness said he helped Johnroe move Goode's body and covered her with the tent and palm fronds.

On Tuesday — a week after authorities identified the victim as Goode — Johnroe was charged with manslaughter for her death.

He was already in jail.

By pure coincidence, on July 21, the day after the witnesses called authorities, Johnroe was arrested on charges from a different attack on another homeless person.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Johnroe severely beat Joseph "Guitar Joe" Fylipek, 29, on July 19 in the parking lot of a Dollar General store at U.S. 19 and State Road 52 — across the street from the homeless camp where Goode's body lay.

Authorities said Johnroe was furious with Fylipek for not watching Johnroe's backpack when he had been asked to do so.

Johnroe is accused of pummeling the man's face with his hands and Fylipek's black, wooden guitar and trying to choke him before fleeing the scene.

Fylipek was hurt so badly he was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he was listed in critical condition, a report states.

Johnroe was charged with attempted murder in that case.

Johnroe refused an interview request Wednesday.

A Michigan police report listed Johnroe's identifying marks as scars on his arm and knee. It also said he has a wooden toenail, but did not elaborate.

His first arrest was at age 12 in Michigan. He was accused of burglary and stealing a car.

He was sentenced to prison in 1994 for carrying a concealed weapon and criminal sexual conduct by force. He was released on Oct. 21, 2007.

It was unclear when he came to Florida.

People at the Holy Ground homeless shelter in Hudson said they didn't know him or Goode. No relatives of either could be reached.

Jean Timmons, mother of shelter owner Lisa Barabas-Henry, said she and her daughter remembered "Guitar Joe" Fylipek. Timmons said he was there for a day or two, but preferred being out in the streets, playing his guitar and peddling.

She heard he died from the beating he got.

He's not dead. Actually, he and the man accused of trying to kill him are in the same place: the Land O'Lakes Jail.

The Sheriff's Office says Fylipek and Johnroe were arrested 30 minutes apart on July 21, two days after the Dollar General Store fight. Fylipek was accused of aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and violating probation. His bail is $30,000.

Johnroe was held Wednesday in lieu of $400,000 bail.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco drifter charged in death of homeless woman 08/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 10:18pm]
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