A second person has been arrested in the 2020 death of a University of South Florida St. Petersburg student who was killed during a home invasion near campus.
Cekwon Kenyette Heath was indicted on a first-degree murder charge by a Pinellas grand jury in February and was arrested on Sunday in connection with the death of 22-year-old Owen Melin. Joshua Pilley Jr., now 22, has also been charged in Melin’s death and is scheduled for trial in August. Pilley was arrested about two weeks after Melin’s death.
St. Petersburg police received a call around 10:07 p.m. on May 27, 2020 reporting that a man had been shot at an apartment in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue South. When police arrived, Melin was found dead in the apartment, according to court records.
A witness told police that he and two other men were outside the apartment when Pilley approached them. Pilley asked to see a man who lived in the apartment with Melin and was inside. Pilley then walked off and returned with two other men, according to court records.
While leaning on a vehicle nearby, Pilley pulled out a modified rifle and ordered the three witnesses to get on the ground, police said. Authorities later found Pilley’s handprint on the vehicle.
After unsuccessfully trying to get into the apartment, Pilley demanded the door code from one of the witnesses and entered with Heath, according to court records.
The witnesses heard gunshots coming from inside and saw Pilley and Heath flee the apartment, records state.
Shortly after the shooting, police also interviewed the man who was inside the apartment with Melin. He told police he was in the bathroom when two suspects came into the apartment. One of the suspects held him at gunpoint and took his money and a cell phone before fleeing, the witness said. The witness did not identify the suspect, however.
In January, the witness came forward and told police he had more information about what happened. He identified Heath as the suspect who held him at gunpoint and said he had sold marijuana to Heath in the past. He said Heath also took marijuana from him during the home invasion, records state.
A confidential informant gave Heath and Pilley’s phone numbers to police, which they used to track the two suspects on the night of the shooting. The phone location data showed Pilley and Heath in the area of the apartment that night. They then moved to another location, consistent with where the confidential informant told police the two men had gone after the shooting, court records state.
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Heath and Pilley also posted a Facebook live video shortly after the shooting. In the video, Heath can be seen with bags of marijuana and “a cartridge with distinctive markings” that appeared similar to cartridges found in the apartment, according to court records.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and they are still seeking information about anyone who may have been involved, but declined to give further details.