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Supervisor at Hillsborough home construction site fatally stabbed during robbery, deputies say

Ja’Quan Glymp, 34, was arrested Sunday after a drywall crew supervisor was stabbed in the Easthaven community near Temple Terrace, records show.
 
The Easthaven residential development off Harney Road east of Tampa is pictured in a Google image from February. A Thonotosassa man, Ja’Quan Javontae Glymp, was arrested Sunday on a first-degree murder charge in connection to the fatal stabbing and suspected robbery of a worker at a townhome under construction in the neighborhood Saturday morning. records show.
The Easthaven residential development off Harney Road east of Tampa is pictured in a Google image from February. A Thonotosassa man, Ja’Quan Javontae Glymp, was arrested Sunday on a first-degree murder charge in connection to the fatal stabbing and suspected robbery of a worker at a townhome under construction in the neighborhood Saturday morning. records show. [ Google ]
Published Nov. 29, 2023|Updated Nov. 29, 2023

A Thonotosassa man faces a murder charge in connection to the fatal stabbing and suspected robbery of a construction worker in a townhome near Temple Terrace over the weekend, records show.

Hillsborough deputies arrested Ja’Quan Javontae Glymp, 34, early Sunday morning on multiple charges, including first-degree murder during a robbery.

According to an arrest affidavit, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 8:32 a.m. Saturday reporting a stabbing at a home under construction at 9241 Rock Harbour Way. The home is in the Easthaven development off Harney Road, just east of Interstate 75.

First responders found Manuel De Jesus Ochoa Portillo, 37, suffering from multiple stab wounds. He died at Tampa General Hospital.

Investigators noted blood throughout the first floor of the home where Ochoa had been working as the supervisor of a drywall crew, according to the affidavit.

A co-worker of Ochoa’s told detectives that he was working upstairs in the home when he heard Ochoa yelling for help. The co-worker looked out the window and saw Ochoa in the street, holding his left side.

Ja’Quan Javontae Glymp is pictured in a Hillsborough County jail booking photo taken Sunday after his arrest on a first-degree murder charge.
Ja’Quan Javontae Glymp is pictured in a Hillsborough County jail booking photo taken Sunday after his arrest on a first-degree murder charge. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

Video from a surveillance camera on a nearby home showed a dark-colored Mercedes backing into a driveway near the home where Ochoa was stabbed about 10 minutes before the 911 call. The video shows the driver, determined by investigators to be Glymp, and a passenger get out of the car. Both are wearing orange work vests, hard hats and white face masks. Glymp’s hard hat is white, the unidentified passenger’s is blue.

Other surveillance video from a property on Harney Road shows a dark-colored Mercedes enter the development at 8:21 a.m. and leave a few minutes later.

Detectives obtained other unspecified evidence showing a dark-colored Mercedes 320 CLK in the area of the Hilltop Dog Park at 9420 Harney Road, which is adjacent to the Easthaven community. The license tag on the Mercedes was later determined to be a fake temporary tag.

Investigators found two hard hats, one white and one blue, and two white face masks in the garage of the home. The white hard hat and the masks had a substance that tested positive for blood. Workers said the hard hats did not belong to them and that they did not wear masks like the ones found in the garage.

A fingerprint found on the white hard hat was Glymp’s, according to the affidavit.

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A detective spotted the Mercedes with the fake temporary tag on Hillsborough Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and deputies conducted a traffic stop on East Wilder Avenue near 34th Street in Tampa. Glymp was driving and his girlfriend was with him. The Mercedes was registered to Glymp and had been assigned a temporary tag that had expired.

In a purse inside the car, investigators found Ochoa’s debit card.

Detectives showed the girlfriend the surveillance video and she confirmed the Mercedes in the video is Glymp’s. She said the passenger wearing the blue hard hat was an unnamed associate of his.

The girlfriend said she was with Glymp and the associate that morning and had fallen asleep in the back of the Mercedes. When she woke up, they were at a dog park, she said. The girlfriend said she overhead Glymp ask the associate what he’d done and the associate replied that he’d “stabbed” him and that “he wouldn’t hold still.” The girlfriend said the associate had blood on his hands and clothing.

The girlfriend denied that Glymp or his associate gave her anything but confirmed that the purse found in the Mercedes was hers.

Co-workers and a family member of Ochoa’s told investigators that he carried his personal belongings with him but his cellphone, bank cards or any other belongings were not found at the scene.

Records show Glymp was being held Wednesday in the Hillsborough County jail with bond set at $501,000. He also faces charges of misuse of a temporary tag and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Responding to questions from the Tampa Bay Times, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said detectives were working to identify any other suspect or suspects in the case.

“Every piece of information in this investigation brings us one step closer to answers; that’s one step closer to providing solace to the shattered hearts of the victim’s loved ones,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.

The sheriff’s office asked anyone with information to call 813-247-8200.

The Easthaven neighborhood is being developed by D.R. Horton Inc. The company provided an emailed statement in response to messages from the Times.

“We are aware of the tragic incident involving a D.R. Horton subcontractor at Easthaven and currently have limited information,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

The statement did not identify what company Ochoa worked for and a spokesperson for D.R. Horton did not respond to a question from the Times asking for that information.

Records show Glymp has several previous arrests in Hillsborough. Between 2010 and 2015, he served state prison time for burglary, giving false information to a pawn broker, trafficking in stolen property, battery on a first responder and grand theft.

In 2017, he was arrested on charges of robbery by sudden snatching and witness tampering. The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office dropped the case after the victim did not respond to requests for help to prosecute, records show.

In 2019, he pleaded guilty to burglary of an occupied dwelling and was sentenced to 36 months in state prison. He was released in 2021.