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UNRESOLVED MURDER LEADS TO DAD'S ARREST IN ASSAULT

For a year-and-a-half the mystery has lingered, kept alive with street talk and rumors. Who gunned down 17-year-old Cedric Mills in his father's front yard?

The family of the murdered Jefferson High School football player continues to grieve, and to listen for answers.

One such whisper reached the ear of Cedric's father last week, and this led to a violent confrontation.

Police say Cedric's dad confronted and attacked 19-year-old Frederick Powell last week, after being told that the youth had been bragging that he's the one who killed the linebacker.

Detectives investigated Powell early in the case, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

"He is not a person of interest,'' she said.

Now Cedric's father, Vidal Mills, 36, has been arrested and faces charges of false imprisonment and battery.

Mills' actions make it obvious the family needs justice, McElroy said.

"It's frustrating for the detectives. We believe people in the community know more about the case but haven't come forward," she said.

Cedric was a strong athlete who dreamed of playing professional football, like his father, who played arena football for the Tampa Bay Storm.

On April 25, 2007, a gunman shot Cedricin front of his father's house, then sped away with a getaway driver -both wearing bandannas - in a newer model silver Chrysler Sebring.

Tampa police say that on Oct. 15, Vidal Mills' daughter, while working at a McDonald's at 1905 N Dale Mabry Highway, saw Powell come in and believed he had been boasting that he had killed Cedric.

She told her mother Powell was in the restaurant, and a short while later Cedric's father appeared and immediately began punching him, police said.

Mills grabbed Powell from behind, dragged him about 20 feet through the restaurant and tried to take him outside, police said, kicking him in the face and body.

When someone said police had been called, Mills fled. He was arrested the next day at home and subsequently released on $2,500 bail.

Neither Mills nor Powell could be reached for comment.

This is not Mills' first arrest for battery in a case involving his son.

Police records show that twice in October 2004 he punched a Plant High School student after the 18-year-old fought with Cedric. Mills was charged with misdemeanor battery, and was found guilty.

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