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Tip leads to arrest in Wesley Chapel killing

Edward Stoddard Jr. is accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of a neighbor on April 23.

Edward Stoddard Jr. is accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of a neighbor on April 23.

DADE CITY — Pasco sheriff's deputies captured a man Wednesday night who has been on the run since a murder last month that may have occurred over a missing PlayStation 3.

Detectives summoned the Pasco sheriff's SWAT team about 9 p.m. when they found suspect Edward Stoddard Jr., 28, at a home on Burger Lane, north of Dade City. He surrendered without incident less than 15 minutes after the team arrived, the Sheriff's Office said.

Tips led deputies to the home just one day after CrimeStoppers offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to Stoddard's arrest.

"The reward money was instrumental in gathering the whereabouts of Stoddard," said Kevin Doll, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. He did not elaborate.

Stoddard is accused of shooting Douglas Abrams, 26, on April 23 in the driveway of a neighbor's home on Mangrove Drive, in the Angus Valley area of Wesley Chapel.

Neighbors said Stoddard believed Abrams had stolen a television and PlayStation 3 from his mobile home.

Stoddard lived with his girlfriend, Karissa Shultz, just a few doors down from Abrams, who was nicknamed "little Dougie" for his short, thin physique.

The day of the shooting, Shultz, 23, said she was on the back porch talking to her mom on the phone when she heard a couple of bangs. Stoddard then ran in the house, grabbed his keys, and left.

Shultz said Thursday that she had not heard from Stoddard during his two weeks on the run. She did not wish to comment on his arrest, except to say that she was glad he was alive.

Both Abrams and Stoddard have criminal pasts.

Abrams was arrested for the first time at age 14 on armed burglary charges. Since then, he had been arrested almost 30 times. Charges included larceny, burglary and battery.

Stoddard was last arrested in March on charges he fired a gun from inside a car and eluded police, among other things. He has also been arrested on charges of battery and cruelty toward a child.

Stoddard was charged Wednesday night with first-degree murder, and was held without bail.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6518

Tip leads to arrest in Wesley Chapel killing 05/08/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 11, 2008 11:05am]
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