Lawyer Albert Lima was shot twice in the head and found on a mountainside in Honduras after he had gone there in February on business.
Tampa lawyer Albert Lima was trying to evict a family who managed a bakery he owned in Honduras, but when he went there in February to take control of the businesses, he never returned.
Three days after he was reportedly beaten and abducted, a search party found Lima's decomposed body on a mountainside on the resort island of Roatan. His captors had shot Lima twice in the head execution style.
News of his death shocked friends and associates in Tampa. It also prompted U.S. Embassy officials in Honduras to warn Americans about the risk of doing business in some foreign countries.
Although Honduran police have a suspect in the case, island authorities have still not made an arrest 10 months after the murder, said Tampa lawyer Larry Scott, a friend and former associate of Lima's.
"It's a cold case," Scott said. "They know who did it, but they have no pressing need to arrest him. It's just not a priority because nobody is pressuring the police, and they have no urgency to make an arrest."
Scott and Scott's cousin, Bill Yanger, were part of the search party that found Lima's body on Feb. 11. Lima, who was 57 at the time, had practiced corporate law for 28 years with Dixon Shear Brown & Lima. He had recently retired from practicing law after making a fortune as an investor.
Honduran police said they suspect Lima was killed by two brothers _ Oral and Byron Coleman _ who ran the bakery and had lost a long court battle Lima fought with them to legally take possession of the bakery.
Lima entered a business agreement with Oral and Byron Coleman's father 10 years ago. Things went well until the man died six years ago and Lima was forced to deal with the sons. Regular mortgage payments weren't being made, and Lima suspected he was not getting his share of the profits.
The details of how the execution was carried out remain unknown.
Byron Coleman was found dead a day before Lima's body was found. Byron's body washed up on a rocky shore next to French Harbor on Feb. 10. Oral Coleman has been at large since the murder, but sources have told Scott, Oral is often seen in Honduras.
Scott, said Honduran police did arrest a man named Eric McKinsey for his role in helping Oral and Byron Coleman hide a gun and get away, but McKinsey was released and the accessory charge against him was dropped, Scott said.
In hindsight, Scott said he believes Lima would be alive today if he had not gone to Honduras alone on that trip. He should have at least taken a body guard with him or hired someone to take possession of the bakery rather than try to do it himself, Scott said.
"He had too much faith in other fellow men," Scott said. "He could not perceive that much violence in others."
At the time Lima invested in Coleman Bakery, it thrived as the only commercial bakery on the resort island of Roatan. Today it is closed.
Scott said Lima's widow, Judy Lima, has no desire to recoupe any assets from the bakery and has since moved to Washington, D.C. for a fresh start.
_ Tim Grant