Monday, February 19, 2018
Public safety

Sheriff: Fire set to cover up double murder in Brandon

BRANDON — The homeowner's association president thought the resident in No. 1528 had tinted her windows black, a violation of the Carlisle Club Townhomes rules.

The neighbor in No. 1530 thought she smelled smoke Wednesday, but her air conditioning was acting up and she figured that caused the smell.

But when the smell persisted Thursday, the neighbor called Hillsborough Fire Rescue.

Authorities were still investigating late Thursday the circumstances surrounding what firefighters discovered at 1528 Highland Ridge Circle: two dead women in a charred townhome.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee called it a double murder, and said the fire appeared set to cover up the crime.

The causes and time of the deaths and the names of the victims were not released. But the Sheriff's Office did release the name of a man they want to interview in their investigation.

He is Charles A. Martinez, 24, who the agency said is also wanted on unrelated warrants for armed home invasion and false imprisonment charges.

"We believe Martinez was living here at least part time," Gee said outside the home.

The Sheriff's Office said that officers on Thursday evening had found near Dover the Mazda Protege that Martinez was believed to have been driving — but not Martinez himself.

"He's not a person of interest, but we are interested in speaking to him," said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said.

State records show Martinez has served prison time on convictions that included shooting into a building or vehicle. He was released a year ago.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts was asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

Carlisle Club Homeowner's Association president Joseph N. Desmarais said he recognized Martinez as someone he'd chastised for repeatedly parking in resident's spaces. Desmarais, 74, said Martinez visited the residents in 1528.

"I told him we've got open spots over there. You're a young fella, you can walk," Desmarais said. "Nothing like this has ever happened here before."

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Comments
‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.How the 19-year-old turned into a man now arrested and charged with 17 co...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

FORT LAUDERDALE — Pot smokers aren’t the only law breakers able to get a second chance in South Florida. Underage adults buying alcohol, those stealing property worth less than $300 and people nabbed for trespassing, loitering or disorderly conduct a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

TALLAHASSEEAhundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will travel to Tallahassee for a march on the state Capitol on Wednesday in the first organized protest of their #NeverAgain movement.Their demand: that Florida legisl...
Updated: 9 hours ago
As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

PARKLAND — On the Sunday after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 of its own, a minister in Parkland implored his flock not to let the horrific shootings lead them away from their faith."Our world is broken, but Jesus is not," the Rev. Eddi...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Pinellas Park man tries to stop people breaking into his car, is shot in arm

PINELLAS PARK — A man saw people trying to break into his vehicle and chased them away, before one of the attempted burglars shot him in the arm, police said.Alexander Weaver, 28, was at his home on the 6200 block of 106th Avenue N early Sunday morni...
Published: 02/18/18

Deputies: Woman charged with DUI manslaughter hit St. Pete Beach pedestrian

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputies say a driver killed a man walking on a sidewalk and fled the scene before causing a second crash Saturday night.Carolyn Yovan, 51 of St. Pete Beach, now faces felony charges of driving under the influence manslaughter and le...
Published: 02/18/18
Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Published: 02/17/18
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Published: 02/17/18

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Published: 02/17/18