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Transient charged with murder after claiming he killed Pinellas man

A 43-year-old man walked into the St. Petersburg Police Department on Thursday morning and confessed that he believed he had strangled a man after a day of drinking on Dec. 31, New Year's Eve.

Anthony Gregoris, whom authorities described as a St. Petersburg transient, has been charged with second-degree murder.

"He told police he was feeling guilty," said Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Marianne Pasha.

Gregoris said he had spent New Year's Eve day drinking heavily with Theron Wallace Driscoll, 60. Gregoris said he remembers strangling Driscoll after Driscoll threatened him.

On Monday, Driscoll was found dead in his Verona Avenue Apartment in the High Point area near Largo. A family member from out of state had asked authorities to check on him.

When they arrived, authorities said they found no sign of foul play. Family members had told them he had a history of medical problems. Driscoll was found in his bed and his body was in the early stages of decomposition.

Pasha said Driscoll was sometimes homeless and that he and Gregoris were friends. An autopsy will be done on Driscoll today.

"The autopsy will help determine whether this was a homicide," Pasha said, "whether it actually was a strangulation."

Driscoll was one of five children, three girls and two boys, said his sister Kelli Driscoll, 48. Their father was a career Army officer, she said.

Kelli Driscoll, who lives in California, said her brother had held some jobs as a radio disc jockey when younger, but suffered from chronic alcoholism and hepatitis.

The last time she saw him was in 2003, when he lived in Osceola County. The last time she spoke with him was Christmas Day.

He was tearful and told her that he loved her very much and had felt for a long time that he could die at any moment, Kelli Driscoll said.

"He tried to stop many times over the course of his life," she said of her brother's drinking. "But ultimately it was just bigger than him."

Times staff researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report. Will Van Sant can be reached at vansant@sptimes.com or 445-4166.

Transient charged with murder after claiming he killed Pinellas man 01/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 5:13pm]
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