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Suspect in 2001 New Port Richey murder arrested 18 years later

Randy Petersilge, 51, was a suspect in a 2001 murder but never arrested. He was later sentenced to federal prison. Meanwhile in January 2018, a grand jury indicted him on a charge of first-degree murder in the 2001 case. He was released from federal prison on Friday, and then arrested on the Pasco charge. [New Port Richey Police Department]
Published Apr. 8

NEW PORT RICHEY — Nearly 18 years after an unsolved murder, police finally arrested the man they suspected all along — right after he was released from federal prison for another crime.

Randy Petersilge, now 51, was released from prison on Friday and then arrested on a Pasco County warrant for first-degree murder in a 2001 case.

The homicide investigation started on Nov. 28, 2001, when New Port Richey police said Simon Clark, 41, was found dead along the 4700 block of Sanctuary Drive.

Clark was found murdered as a result of blunt force trauma, police said. Investigators identified Petersilge as a suspect but arrested no one, according to police.

In 2015, Petersilge was convicted in federal court of possessing a firearm as a felon and sentenced to 42 months in prison. Records show he was previously committed grand theft, burglary and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

While he sat behind bars, New Port Richey investigators re-opened the two-decade old murder case in 2017 and interviewed new witnesses. Then in January 2018, a grand jury indicted Petersilge in Clark's murder.

He has not yet been returned to Pasco County to stand trial, police said Tuesday.

Contact Langston Taylor at ltaylor@tampabay.com or 727-893-8659. Follow @langstonitaylor.

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