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 email@example.com or 727-893-8659. Follow @langstonitaylor.