Sunday, December 17, 2017
Public safety

Plant City police charge man in double homicide

PLANT CITY —Nine months after two people were discovered beaten to death in a Plant City home, a man neighbors and police long believed to have been involved was arrested Monday in the double homicide.

Ruben Jay Brooks, 47, whom police last year labeled a person of interest, has been held at the Hillsborough County jail since late last year an unrelated robbery charge. He is now awaiting his first court appearance on the murder charges.

Officer Tray Towles said detectives have not disclosed a motive for the killings. He would not describe how Brooks knew the victims.

Shannon L. Thomas, 33, and Faye McClain Kitchen, 59, were found dead Nov. 12 at a home at 506 E Ohio St. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the cause of death for both as blunt-force trauma.

Acquaintances of the victims quickly pointed to Brooks. Two days after the bodies were found, Brooks was shot in what police called a retaliatory act. He suffered minor injuries.

Towles said detectives did not wrap up their murder investigation until last week. He said the department had sent off physical evidence found at the scene and other locations for tests, and had been waiting on results.

Brooks has been arrested 32 times in Florida since 1982, records show. Charges include cocaine possession, battery of a law enforcement officer and grand theft. In 2009, he received a state prison sentence for two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing police and resisting an officer with violence, records show.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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