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Murder warrant issued for suspect in stabbing

Published Oct. 13, 2005

Hillsborough sheriff's detectives have identified the second suspect in the stabbing death of a 48-year-old businessman Sunday night. Authorities issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Patrick J. "Pat" Willis, 42, of Camden, N.J., charging him with first-degree murder, armed burglary and aggravated battery.

Detectives arrested the first suspect early Wednesday morning.

Willis is accused of murdering Nelson McLoughlin in McLoughlin's home at 15414 Morning Drive in North Hillsborough about 9 p.m. Sunday.

Willis remained at large Thursday evening. Detectives think Willis has left the Tampa area, sheriff's spokesman Jack Espinosa said.

Willis and another man, John Henry Williams, 38, forced their way into McLoughlin's home, according to an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant. Sheriff's officials said Willis stabbed McLoughlin's 50-year-old wife, Nancy, in the arm, and then the two men attacked McLoughlin, stabbing him repeatedly in the neck, stomach and back.

Williams of 2203 Trace Circle turned himself in to detectives about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. He is charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary and is being held without bail at Hillsborough County Jail.

Willis is a former employee of McLoughlin's Mac Lawn Service. Williams was an employee of McLoughlin's at the time of the killing, Espinosa said.

About two hours before the attack, the two suspects broke into McLoughlin's home and were overheard threatening McLoughlin, according to the affidavit.

Nancy McLoughlin identified Willis as a former employee of her husband's.

It was unclear why the men threatened McLoughlin, but Espinosa said Williams and McLoughlin had argued about the business.

After he was stabbed, McLoughlin ran from his townhouse, bleeding heavily from his neck. He collapsed on a neighbor's doorstep and was treated by a doctor who also lives in the apartment complex.

The doctor asked McLoughlin who stabbed him, and McLoughlin identified the man as Williams, the affidavit stated.