Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa man charged with manslaughter after dispute about chicken foot turns deadly

TAMPA — A Tampa man has been charged with manslaughter after an investigation revealed that he beat his roommate to death after a disagreement about a chicken foot, Tampa police said.

James Jugo, 52, admitted in an interview with detectives on Saturday that he beat his roommate, 56-year-old Benjamin Calderon, with his fist after an argument about some stolen food, police said.

The fight started earlier, when Jugo took a chicken foot from a skillet as Calderon cooked in the apartment they shared at 8722 N 48th Street, police said.

Officers were called to the apartment on Friday to investigate an "unexplained death." It is unclear when the fight took place and if Calderon died immediately. Police declined to share details, saying the attack is still under investigation.

An autopsy revealed that Calderon suffered internal bleeding after being hit numerous times on the face, neck and elsewhere, police said. A witness told police that she saw Jugo hit Calderon with a board.

Jugo was booked in jail Saturday. He is being held on $15,000 bail.

Jugo has been arrested 19 times in Florida on charges including burglary, cocaine possession, petty theft, probation violation, open container and possession of a dangerous dog, state records show.

Calderon had been arrested twice in Florida on charges of DUI and failure to appear. He had recently become homeless after losing his security job, his brother Bolivar Calderon said Monday.

Benjamin Calderon lived out of his car for a while and tried staying at a shelter. He ended up living with Jugo and female roommate, the brother said.

Calderon was saving money to apply for a license that would allow him to work as an armed security officer.

"He had plans. He was setting goals for himself," Bolivar Calderon said.

Benjamin Calderon leaves a mother, two brothers, a sister and children. The family is devastated, and they have lingering questions that they hope police will eventually answer, Bolivar Calderon said.

"No one deserves to die over a chicken foot," he said.

Times news researcher John Martin and staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa man charged with manslaughter after dispute about chicken foot turns deadly 02/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 8:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa police: 46 arrests, 47 ejections at two-day Sunset Music Festival

    Public Safety

    Times staff

    TAMPA — In a preliminary tally Monday morning, police declared there were "no major incidents" during the two-day Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium but boosted the number of arrests and rejections they provided in earlier reports during the weekend.

    A Tampa Fire Rescue all-terrain vehicle patrols the parking area north of Raymond James Stadum on Sunday, day two of the Sunset Music Festival. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

  2. Trump to speak at Arlington cemetery on Memorial Day


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is preparing his first Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave as they board Air Force One at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Saturda, in Sigonella, Italy. [AP photo]
  3. Two in serious condition after early-morning shooting in Tampa


    Two people are in serious condition after a shooting occurred early Monday morning in Tampa, according to the Tampa Police Department.

  4. Wrong-way driver on Courtney Campbell Causeway intercepted by police, faces DUI charge

    Public Safety

    A woman driving in the wrong direction on the Courtney Campbell Causeway early Monday morning was intercepted by Tampa Police officers and faces a DUI charge.

  5. Relative 'devastated' after shooting kills 8 in Mississippi


    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Head in hands, his voice strained, Vincent Mitchell sat outside his little yellow home and tried to make sense of how a family dispute led to a rampage that killed eight people, including the deputy who tried to keep them safe.

    Christianna May-Kelly, center, is supported by family members as she cries after answering reporters questions outside her parents' home in Brookhaven, Miss., Sunday. May-Kelly said her parents and mother were among the people gunned down during a shooting in rural Mississippi Saturday night. [AP photo]