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Tarpon Springs police suspect slain elderly couple are not random victims

TARPON SPRINGS — On Tuesday, hours after Tarpon Springs police made an arrest in the slaying of 33-year-old Joseph Brignoli, police Chief Bob Kochen released a letter addressing residents' concerns in the wake of the city's third killing since the start of the year.

In the letter, Kochen said Brignoli's death is not connected to the Jan. 4 killings of Steve and Flora Georgiou in their home at 504 Chesapeake Drive.

He also said, for the first time publicly, that detectives believe the couple was targeted.

"In other words, it is our strong belief at this time that Tarpon Springs does not have a person on the loose looking to perpetrate a murder and/or other crime(s) on random persons," he said in the letter.

Kochen had previously declined to discuss the Georgious' deaths with the St. Petersburg Times, but said in an interview Wednesday that "now is the time to start addressing some of those things."

Steve Georgiou, 83, and his wife Flora Georgiou, 78, were discovered by firefighters responding to a fire call at the home, but the medical examiner determined they were dead before the fire ignited.

Police have said the couple suffered trauma to the upper body but have not provided additional details.

Kochen defended the department's silence on several matters surrounding the case, citing the need to protect the investigation.

Kochen said the Georgious' case was "very complex" and asked for patience from the public as investigators do their jobs.

"We're really working hard on that," he said. "We're confident we'll do the right thing on it."

Brignoli was forced to kneel down, then shot to death execution-style Sunday night outside his townhouse at 1197 Flying Fish Lane.

Early Tuesday, police arrested 20-year-old Christopher J. Kubiak on a charge of first-degree murder.

Police said Brignoli and Kubiak, who were friends, had some sort of argument before the shooting but have not yet released a motive.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Tarpon Springs police suspect slain elderly couple are not random victims 02/09/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 8:22pm]
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