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Tampa man arrested after reporting he killed his girlfriend

TAMPA — Pastor Ruth Beckman says the man who came into the River of Grace Church on Tuesday morning told two members "I've done something very, very bad."

Nishea Magwood, 32, said he thought he had killed his girlfriend and her mother, Beckman said. Someone called 911, and Magwood told a dispatcher he had been in a fight with his girlfriend and her mother.

"I'm pretty sure one of them is dead," he said, according to a police arrest affidavit. He gave them a Sulphur Springs address.

Police entered 8704 N 13th St. around 8 a.m., and found 45-year-old Katrina LoCicero inside, stabbed to death.

LoCicero's mother, Juanita Nelson, who lived two blocks away at 8607 N Mulberry St., was not injured, Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Magwood was read his rights at 11 a.m., charged with second-degree murder and booked into the Orient Road Jail, where he was being held without bail.

Magwood was no stranger to the church at 2801 N Tampa St. It runs a men's shelter and counseling program. He had made it through 90 days and left months ago, clean and employed.

"We wished him well," Beckman said. "He wanted with all his heart to change his life around. I can't tell you how much my heart hurts for all the people involved."

Across from Nelson's home, Sara Hernandez said LoCicero often visited her mother.

An autopsy will be performed to confirm the cause of death. Police estimated that she died Sunday or Monday.

Romay Hampton, who lives next door to her home, said she saw a man inside Monday morning but doesn't remember seeing anyone else at the home before that.

"Her car hadn't moved since Friday," Hampton said. That was not like LoCicero.

"She leaves at 5 a.m. and comes home at 2 p.m." Hampton said. "I think she's been in there since Friday — dead."

County records show LoCicero owned the one-story, brown Sulphur Springs home with her ex-husband, Frank, whom she divorced in 1996.

Hampton said she mostly kept to herself, occasionally working in the yard.

Peter Crochet, 61, said the home was generally quiet and he didn't think anyone else lived there with LoCicero. Crochet said he chatted with LoCicero outside from time to time and exchanged Christmas gifts. The poinsettia she gave him last year sits on his front porch.

LoCicero and Magwood were listed as in a relationship on Facebook, where Magwood wrote of wanting to become a counselor and liking to cook.

"The best steak I ever ate," LoCicero wrote on his page. "Thanks for cooking last nite."

Magwood was arrested in January 2008 and convicted of robbery by sudden snatching, possession of drug paraphernalia and cocaine, according to state records. He was sentenced in May to a year in jail.

Reached at her South Carolina home Tuesday, Magwood's mother, Rosalie Magwood, said she had not heard from him in two months and didn't know he was involved in a crime.

"Shea is the easiest-going one I had," she said. "He's a smart man."

The killing brings Tampa's homicide total so far this year to 12 — half of which happened since June, statistics show. Tampa had 20 homicides by this time last year.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Rebecca Catalanello contributed to this report.

Tampa man arrested after reporting he killed his girlfriend 08/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:02am]
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