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New murder charges filed in Palm River-Clair Mel triple-homicide, arson case

New murder charges have been filed against one of the men arrested in connection with the Nov. 15 discovery of three bodies in a burning home in the Palm River-Clair Mel. Xavier Pierre Whitehead, left, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder with a firearm and one count of robbery with a firearm. He still faces a charge of armed burglary of a dwelling from his Dec. 1 arrest. He is the second man to face murder charges in this case. Last month, Ricky Wilkerson Jr., right, was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary of a dwelling and robbery with a firearm. [Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
New murder charges have been filed against one of the men arrested in connection with the Nov. 15 discovery of three bodies in a burning home in the Palm River-Clair Mel. Xavier Pierre Whitehead, left, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder with a firearm and one count of robbery with a firearm. He still faces a charge of armed burglary of a dwelling from his Dec. 1 arrest. He is the second man to face murder charges in this case. Last month, Ricky Wilkerson Jr., right, was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary of a dwelling and robbery with a firearm. [Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office]
Published Apr. 3, 2019

TAMPA — One of the men connected to the discovery of three murder victims found in a burning home in the Palm River-Clair Mel area last year now faces three murder charges, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

Xavier Pierre Whitehead, 28, of Tampa, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder with a firearm and one count of robbery with a firearm. He still faces a charge of armed burglary of a dwelling from his Dec. 1 arrest, but the charges of arson and tampering with physical evidence were dropped.

The Sheriff's Office did not explain why the murder charges were added, what evidence those charges are based on or release any other information about the case. The investigation is still ongoing, the agency said.

RELATED: Man faces three murder counts after bodies found in burning Palm River-Clair Mel home, deputies say

He is the second man to face murder charges in the discovery of the bodies on Nov. 15. Last month, Ricky Wilkerson Jr., 23, was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary of a dwelling and robbery with a firearm.

Whitehead and Wilkerson were the two men captured on surveillance video at 6221 16th Ave. S before firefighters were called to the home and found three bodies inside, deputies said. None died from fire-related injuries. Instead, investigators said all three suffered upper body trauma.

The victims were identified as Haley Stone, 20; Xavier Greene, 28; and Derek Archie, 31.

RELATED: Arrest linked to bodies found in burning Palm River-Clair Mel home

Video surveillance systems in the neighborhood captured video of a white Nissan Altima at the home, according to the Sheriff's Office. A gray Infiniti was also seen at the residence, and one person in the car was seen setting the fire. The Altima was registered to Wilkerson, the agency said. He was arrested on March 1.

Whitehead and Wilkerson are both being held in separate Hillsborough County jails without bail.

Contact McKenna Oxenden at moxenden@tampabay.com. Follow @mack_oxenden.