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Three men arrested in fatal Hernando County home invasion

On Friday, witnesses told sheriff's deputies how three men spoke frankly about robbing and killing a Masaryktown man.

By Saturday morning, the last of the three suspects was behind bars, accused of killing and robbing Michael Pfeifer in his Hernando County home on Aug. 16.

A Hernando County Sheriff's Office report gave this account of the witnesses' statements: The three men — Nicholas James Trammell, Robert Willoughby and Richard Denard Harris — were at a house describing what they stole from Pfeifer, who died after being shot in the knees while trying to defend himself.

According to witnesses:

Harris said he took Pfeifer's Louis Vuitton wallet, cash and a gold chain. Willoughby said he shot Pfeifer in the knee and took a DVD player and a surround sound system. He also told a witness he wanted to take a television set but couldn't lift it. Willoughby then took out a black ski mask and said it was the one he wore during the robbery.

Trammell, Willoughby and Harris allegedly entered the home about 11:30 p.m. with an assault-style rifle, shotgun and several handguns, according to a sheriff's report. They demanded money and drugs and fired at Pfeifer, who died before emergency workers arrived. Cliff Kearney, who was also home during the robbery, was hit in the head but survived.

The three men were arrested between Thursday and Saturday morning. Trammell, 20, of Spring Hill was found about 2:30 a.m. Saturday on Hyde Park Boulevard in Land O'Lakes. Willoughby, 23, of Brooksville was arrested about 1:45 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Mariner Boulevard and State Road 50 in Hernando County. Both men were charged with first-degree murder, home invasion robbery and aggravated assault with a weapon. Harris, 24, of Brooksville was arrested Thursday.

The three have all had trouble with the law, state records show. Trammell was charged with disorderly intoxication in Hernando County last month. Willoughby was charged in 2007 with a probation violation. In February 2008, he was accused by Pinellas County authorities of possessing marijuana and a controlled substance as well as child neglect. It was unclear Saturday what happened to the charges.

Since 2005, Harris has been arrested six times on charges including possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, loitering and prowling, felony fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, and battery. The outcomes of those cases were not available Saturday.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

Three men arrested in fatal Hernando County home invasion 08/27/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 11:02pm]
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