Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg motel manager found dead in his room

ST. PETERSBURG — Yellow crime scene tape was stretched across the parking lot. Detectives and crime scene technicians conferred outside. It was a familiar scene at the Inn on the Hill, the 34th Street motel that has seen violence and death over the years.

The latest: The motel's manager was found dead Tuesday morning, according to St. Petersburg police, after suffering trauma to his upper body.

Police did not identify the 54-year-old victim because they were still trying to notify the next of kin.

The live-in manager had been having medical problems, according to police spokesman Mike Puetz, which was why motel staffers became concerned when they couldn't rouse him.

"The maids needed access to the rooms. They were trying to wake him up," Puetz said. "They were knocking on the door. His vehicle was there, but he wasn't answering."

They called the motel's owner in Lee County. He called the police. It was 9 a.m. when officers entered the room at 275 34th St. S and found the victim dead inside. He had last been seen alive Monday evening.

Daniel Davis, 30, screamed and cursed when he learned who the victim was. The manager was a "nice guy" who paid him to do odd jobs, Davis said. He said the manager also helped clean up the place a bit.

"He wouldn't put up with anything," Davis said. "My grandmother lives nearby. She used to fear the place. Since he's been here, she hasn't."

The owner declined to comment Tuesday.

The manager was a generous person who had worked and lived there for years, another resident said. The manager cooked an annual Thanksgiving dinner for residents and even shared it with passersby.

The vacancy sign was lit Tuesday afternoon. Rooms go for $40 a day or $200 a week. But some people have made the motel their home.

Drugs and prostitution are known to plague sections of 34th Street.

Violence also has plagued the Inn on the Hill. In 2003, a 45-year-old man was shot in the head on the second-floor balcony. He survived.

The next year, a 42-year-old man was stabbed to death at the motel after police said he threatened another man with a rifle. The two men had been quarrelling. It was ruled self-defense, and no one was charged.

In 2008, another argument led to the shooting death of a 26-year-old man. A suspect was arrested.

"They're always taking bodies out of there," Davis said.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

St. Petersburg motel manager found dead in his room 09/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.