ST. PETERSBURG — The young man who checked into Room 118 at the Candlelight Inn motel on 34th Street Wednesday needed a room for one night.
When he failed to return his key to the front desk the next day, staff members got curious. A manager authorized a worker to open the door.
They saw blood.
Police officers who arrived quickly determined the man, who has not been identified, was dead.
Hours later, detectives had a 20-year-old New Port Richey man in custody.
Police said David Charles Willey stabbed the victim multiple times. He was arrested without incident in the area of 64th Avenue N and 12th Street and charged with first-degree murder.
According to police, surveillance video showed Willey going into the motel room with the victim Wednesday night. Willey later left alone.
An employee found the victim about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, about a half-hour after guests are expected to check out. Police also found a knife at the scene.
Detectives spent the afternoon interviewing other guests at the motel at 3405 34th St. N, which offers rooms for $45 a night. Residents ducked under police tape to get to the laundry.
A manager said she recognized the dead man as someone who has stayed there in the past. Police said they would release his name after his family is notified.
The motive is unclear, police said.
The week has been a busy one for homicide detectives. The motel murder was the third they've been called to this week.
On Monday, a man recently released from prison was found dead in an alley. Police later determined 40-year-old Carlos Antonio Green was shot as he tried to rob some drug dealers. Green's killer, however, is not expected to be charged with a crime because he was acting in self-defense, police said.
Police are still investigating the death of 42-year-old Tracy Lee Pulido, who was found dead Sunday inside her apartment at 600 40th St. N, No. 119. They have not named any suspects.