TAMPA — Friends and family of a nurse who was mysteriously killed in his home earlier this week pinned their hopes on the capture of the man who Tampa police detectives believe is responsible for the death of William Leslie McGoff.
They got their wish just hours after the warrant was issued Thursday: Keith Earl Davis, 43, was captured in Sulphur, La., near the Texas border, police said that evening. Tampa detectives were sent to Louisiana to bring Davis back to Hillsborough County to stand trial.
Police said forensic evidence "implicates" Davis in the death of McGoff. Davis faces charges of first-degree murder, robbery with a weapon and grand theft. Police did not release any other details about Davis' capture, including where he was caught or how.
McGoff, 53, was last seen alive on Sunday. He was found dead in his Wellswood home Monday evening after his co-workers at LifePath Hospice called police, concerned that the longtime nurse hadn't shown up for work.
McGoff's well-kept home at 4928 Chariton Ave. appeared to have been ransacked and his black 2013 Hyundai Sonata was missing, police said. They believe Davis took McGoff's belongings before driving out of state in the car, which has Florida tag 113VFT.
A man matching Davis' description was also seen driving McGoff's car in north Florida and Louisiana, police said.
McGoff lived in his home for about a decade and was close to his neighbors, none of whom said they noticed anything strange the night he died. His two roommates recently moved out, but it wasn't unusual for McGoff to open his doors and his wallet to people in need of a place to stay, said longtime friend Lisa Frederick. No friends or family members knew of any connection to Davis, but police said McGoff likely knew his attacker.
Apart from his job, frequent Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings were McGoff's "life focus," said nephew Thomas Patterson, 38. McGoff recently celebrated his 10th year sober and was dedicated to sponsoring others in the programs, sometimes as many as six to eight people at a time.
"He had numerous people live at his house and he would give them money and feed them and clothe them," Patterson said. "Unfortunately, through that program they come and go. It's sad and it's a brush with reality when you have to deal with that and know going in that you can do everything you can to pull people up and out, but you can't make anyone do something they just don't want to do."
McGoff's family said they were told by police that Davis' family is cooperating with detectives. As they wait for answers, friends and family are "trying to remember Leslie and stay strong, have courage and go forward," Patterson said.
Davis has been arrested 15 times in Florida on charges that include aggravated battery and grand theft, state records show. He has served four stints in state prison and was last released on his birthday in December 2015 after serving four years of a five-year sentence for dealing in stolen property.
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Contact Anastasia Dawson at email@example.com or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.