ST. PETERSBURG — Michael James Osentoski had a simple explanation when police asked him about the dead man in the garage Friday morning.
Osentoski claimed the man — his roommate — was alive when he left at 1 a.m. and dead when Osentoski returned at 10 a.m.
Police said none of that is true.
They arrested Osentoski on Friday afternoon, accusing the 45-year-old of beating his roommate to death after the two got into an argument.
Police are still trying to locate the 52-year-old dead man's family. The Tampa Bay Times is not releasing his name because of that.
"He was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat," police spokesman Mike Puetz said. "The argument was over cigarettes, beer … and apparently a disparaging remark about Michael's mother."
The men, both transients, were bedding down in a garage behind an apartment building at 364 Eighth St. N. Osentoski said the two had been best friends for eight years.
The owner of the property was not aware the men were living there, police said.
Police said Osentoski admitted to beating his friend between 4 and 7 a.m., then contacting police hours later. Detectives noted he had blood on his clothes and hands.
Osentoski has been charged with second-degree murder.