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Pinellas deputies say felon arrested on domestic assault charge had a gun, handcuff key

LARGO — Charlie James McDuffy Jr. was just 14 when he took part in the fatal robbery of a 63-year-old man. He was 15 when he was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter.

Now McDuffy is 22 and in trouble with the law again, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He's accused of firing a gun while threatening his father, escaping from deputies, then being caught with a handcuff key and a gun.

It's illegal for a person held in handcuffs to posses a handcuff key in Florida. It's also illegal for a felon to possess a firearm. McDuffy is a felon on probation, one whom the Sheriff's Office said it has become well-acquainted with.

"There was information ahead of time that he keeps a handcuff key," said sheriff's spokesman Marianne Pasha. "Mr. McDuffy and our deputies have had contact on numerous occasions."

Deputies have been looking for McDuffy since Feb. 22, when his father reported that his son threatened him. The son pointed a semiautomatic pistol at him, the father told deputies, fired a round into the ground and took off.

Then on March 23, a deputy who knows McDuffy and knew he was wanted in the February shooting saw him driving on Coral Way, north of Ulmerton Road, the Sheriff's Office said.

The deputy tried to pull the car over, but the suspect fled. It was about 6 p.m., and there was too much traffic to safely chase after McDuffy, deputies said.

But they saw McDuffy's car again just after midnight Wednesday, parked in the Rainbow Village housing complex near 119th Street and Ulmerton. Deputies staked out the car and arrested McDuffy without incident on a nearby sidewalk.

Deputies said they found a handcuff key on McDuffy's key chain and he had a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol.

McDuffy was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic assault, unlawful possession of a handcuff key, resisting an officer without violence, fleeing and eluding and violating his probation for manslaughter. He was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he was being held without bail Wednesday.

McDuffy was 14 and Richard Washington was 16 when authorities said the pair robbed Charles Carroll on a Largo street in 2002. Washington pushed Carroll to the ground, breaking his neck. The 63-year-old died 20 days after the attack.

The two teens were indicted as adults for first-degree murder. McDuffy later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with five years suspended and five years' probation. Washington was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

McDuffy was released from prison in 2006, according to state records. His probation is set to expire in November 2011.

Pinellas deputies say felon arrested on domestic assault charge had a gun, handcuff key 03/31/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 8:03pm]
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