Pasco County had its share of big news _ good and bad _ in 1995. No news was more tragic than the unusual number of murders. More homicides took place in Pasco in the first four months of 1995 than in all of 1994.
Until death do us part
The O. J. Simpson murder case put domestic violence in the national spotlight this year, and Pasco County had its share of cases where a marriage or relationship ended in death.
It began Jan. 2 when Michael Encinas admitted to shooting and killing his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, George Huff, after Huff broke into her Holiday home. A grand jury refused to indict Encinas on a first-degree murder charge, and he went free.
Less than two weeks later, a former police officer named Robert Honeyman was accused of stabbing his wife, Barbara, to death in their New Port Richey home. The Honeymans were going through a divorce but had been married for 22 years. He later was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.
In May, Patricia Walsh held her Hudson neighborhood hostage for hours after allegedly shooting and killing her boyfriend, Joseph Gina. Pasco County sheriff's deputies had to force her from her home in Signal Cove. Walsh told authorities she and Gina had had a violent relationship. A first-degree murder trial has been set for March.
An ex-convict named Ramon V. Cannady was wanted in the Oct. 20 stabbing death of his wife, Birgit, in Zephyrhills. They had been married nearly three years _ during which he served time for trying to kill his first wife _ when he reportedly killed Birgit Cannady with a kitchen knife. While on the run from local police, Cannady was shot and killed by a Sarasota County sheriff's deputy who said the man charged him with a knife.
The theme played itself out again in November when authorities said Robert G. Fellenz Jr. shot and killed Ronald Wayne Dupree, his estranged wife's boyfriend. Fellenz later was found dead in South Florida of a gunshot wound to the chest from the same semiautomatic rifle police say he used to murder Dupree.
Mildred Boroski was last seen alive March 10 at her 71st birthday party. Then her car was foundabandoned, and her Veterans Village home was found burglarized. Finally, her body was discovered in a grassy field near Perrine Ranch Road.
Boroski's death sent a shock wave of fear through her neighborhood. Many elderly residents spoke of buying guard dogs, installing burglar alarms or putting up fences. It took investigators two months to find and arrest the two young men they say are involved: Johnathan Grimshaw Jr. and Nathan Ramirez.
The teenagers, who lived near Boroski, admitted to breaking into her home to steal birthday presents. In the end, Boroski's pet poo-dle, Chippy, was beaten to death, the woman was sexually assaulted, and she was taken to the field and shot in the head _ with her late husband's police revolver.
Grimshaw, 18, and Ramirez, 17, were charged with first-degree murder and are in jail, awaiting trial. No trial date has been set.
When someone broke into 68-year-old Elsie Anderson's house in Trilby on Sept. 15, it was another case of crime hitting close to home. Police say 31-year-old Mark Landon Reffuse, a son of Anderson's next-door neighbor who had known the woman since he was 13, strangled the woman, stole cash and jewelry from her and drove off in her car. He was found in Tallahassee the next day and charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.
The suspects in some robbery-murder cases were arrested outside of Florida, even outside of the United States.
Chester Collins, a Hudson man, was killed Oct. 18 in Ruston, La., while traveling to Oklahoma to visit his brother. Two suspects, Joseph Harmon IV and Jeffrey Nelson, were found in California, having spent their way across the country on Collins' credit cards. They are awaiting trial for first-degree murder in a Louisiana jail.
In November, an 84-year-old Crystal Springs woman named Maudeline Bailey and her caretaker, Alice Durfee, 57, of Zephyrhills, were found dead in Bailey's single-wide mobile home.
The suspects, Melissa Harris and Earl Linebaugh, were stopped at a U.S.-Canada border station in Emerson, Manitoba. Police there said Harris was driving Durfee's car and presented the dead woman's identification as her own. Two handguns also were found in the vehicle.
When Pasco sheriff's deputies tried to extradite the suspects, the pair asked Canadian authorities togrant political asylum. No charges have been filed in the case.
Then there are cases where clues are few and leads turn into dead ends. The murders of Kathy Struckhoff, a New Port Richey woman whose body was found in February, and Lucile Shubert, a Dade City woman whose body was found in April, remain unsolved.
In August, Pasco Sheriff Lee Cannon mentioned a previously undisclosed murder investigation during a County Commission meeting. This mysterious case had a suspect, but no corpse.
Authorities have yet to disclose any details about the case, but residents of the Florida Naturist Park in Hudson said police had been investigating the death of Lawrence Nelson, who lived there. The man was said to have disappeared from the neighborhood in late May or early June. He has not been seen or heard from since.
Sometimes, the murder suspects committed suicide before their fates could be decided in a court of law.
Robert D. Fletcher was arrested in May and accused of murdering an acquaintance, Cornel Grant Nelson, and dumping his body in the Lacoochee woods. While in jail awaiting trial, Fletcher used the string from his standard-issue laundry bag to hang himself in his cell. He died July 8.
The body of Mary Schutz, a 33-year-old mother from Angus Valley, was found at the empty Saddlebrook Corporate Center on Sept. 18. The shooting death was linked to Diosdado Cano, a Vietnam veteran who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He had worked at a pawn shop where Schutz had been a customer. Cano admitted to his family that he had killed the woman, but he chose to kill himself instead of turning himself in to authorities.