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Police: Clearwater man stabbed to death by neighbor's 'unwanted guests'

CLEARWATER — Stabbed in the chest, Gary Floyd made it just a few yards before he collapsed in his kitchen Wednesday night.

The 38-year-old married father of five girls never got back up.

"Evidently, when he got stabbed he ran back in the house, because when I came downstairs I saw the paramedics standing over him," said Floyd's father-in-law Carl Jenkins, 56.

Soon, Jenkins learned the gravity of his son-in-law's wound.

"When they were trying to talk to him, he wasn't responding. I heard a cop say 'Ooooh, I don't think he's going to make it,' " Jenkins said.

Clearwater police said Anthony Gary Floyd, known to family and friends as "Gary," was stabbed to death after a physical altercation at 522 McLennan St., which is about a half-mile north of Belleair Road and a block east of S Fort Harrison Avenue.

Police said Floyd was killed as he tried to help his next-door neighbor remove "unwanted guests" from her home who were using drugs. The neighbor, who police did not identify because she is a witness, asked Floyd to help remove Michael A. Gattus, 29, and girlfriend Liza C. Mastronardi, 32, from the home around 9 p.m., police said.

A fight broke out as Floyd attempted to force Gattus, whose last name also appears as Garrus in Pinellas court records, from the house, police said.

It appeared Floyd had gotten the better of Gattus, so Mastronardi pulled a knife from her backpack and handed it to Gattus, police said.

Gattus then stabbed Floyd in the chest, police said.

Floyd was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he died overnight.

Police found the knife in the street at nearby 1406 Hamlet Ave.

Gattus and Mastronardi flagged down a ride and were driven away from the scene shortly after the stabbing. The driver was unaware the stabbing had occurred, police said.

Police found the car, with the couple inside, at a McDonald's on Missouri Avenue after a witness gave police a description of the vehicle they were in, as well as the license tag number.

Both have been arrested in the stabbing incident. Gattus faces charges of first-degree murder and resisting arrest and was being held in the Pinellas County Jail without bail on Thursday. Mastronardi was charged with accessory to first-degree murder and was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to jail records.

In jail records, both were listed as living at Pinellas Safe Harbor, the homeless shelter for nonviolent offenders near the jail.

Gattus, who has a lengthy criminal history, was released from prison in May after serving eight months on a burglary conviction, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

He also has previous convictions for sale and possession of cocaine, petit theft, criminal mischief, retail theft and battery, Pinellas court records show.

In 2003, Mastronardi, then 24, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after Citrus County deputies said she stabbed her live-in boyfriend in the back with a butcher knife, causing his lung to collapse. Court records show that the charge was reduced to battery. She was convicted and sentenced to a year of probation.

Jenkins said Floyd's oldest daughter is 14 years old and the youngest is "about 7." He said the girls were at the movies with their mother, Floyd's wife, when the stabbing occurred.

Jenkins said police officers intercepted their vehicle as mother and daughters returned and kept them from the home so they would not have to see what happened. Around 11 a.m. Thursday, as crime scene tape still hung from the porch of the home where the stabbing occurred, an exhausted Jenkins said he had just finished cleaning up the blood in his daughter's kitchen.

"She doesn't need to see that," he said.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified said she often saw Floyd outside with his daughters as they rode their bicycles and watched him taking them to school or walking them to a neighborhood store. The woman said he was a devoted dad.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

Police: Clearwater man stabbed to death by neighbor's 'unwanted guests' 09/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 8:48am]
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