TAMPA — A robber who shot dead a Tampa father during Super Bowl weekend was after the man’s gold bracelet, police say.
Jaime Lee Scott, 26, was arrested Friday, eight months after the slaying, on charges of robbery and first-degree murder in the shooting death of Marquis Thornton, 41, according to a Tampa police arrest report. The shooting happened around 11 p.m. Feb. 6 at 308 E 9th Ave., in a residential area one block east of the main Ybor City historic and entertainment district.
It was the night before the Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium and thousands of people were celebrating nearby.
Thornton was the father of seven children and a lover of “working and baseball,” according to an obituary published in February.
Police say they identified Scott as a suspect in the shooting after DNA found on clothes abandoned near the shooting scene was matched with him.
Two witnesses told police they saw two men chasing Thornton that night. One of the assailants opened fire with a handgun, shooting until Thornton fell to the ground, according to the arrest report.
Both witnesses told police the assailants bent over Thornton for a few seconds before fleeing.
One of the witnesses knew Thornton and told detectives Thornton was known to wear a large, gold, Cuban-link bracelet. They told detectives the attack was likely a robbery if the bracelet was missing.
Police found no bracelet on Thornton’s body. The value of the bracelet, made up of individual gold links connected together, was estimated at $15,000, the arrest report said.
Using witness statements and security footage from a nearby business, police were able to trace the robbers to a carport at 2207 E 10th Ave., 500 feet from the shooting scene.
One of the witnesses led police to the carport and said the abandoned clothes looked like those worn by the robbers. The men changed clothes in the carport and left, the arrest report said. One of the witnesses also pursued Scott in hopes of apprehending him but was unsuccessful.
The items included a blue denim jacket, a teal baseball cap, a ski mask, black gloves and a red Buccaneers’ flag. DNA tests linked the mask to Scott, the arrest report said. Tests on the other items were inconclusive.
Scott was in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail on unrelated charges when the DNA results came back, police said. Detectives interviewed Scott there July 1 and he denied shooting Thornton or owning the clothes.
Police collected a DNA sample from Scott and two weeks later, lab tests linked the rest of the clothing to him, the arrest report said.
In August, an ex-girlfriend of Scott’s confirmed to detectives that the clothing in the carport belonged to him, the arrest report said.
Two photos posted to social media in February show Scott wearing a large Cuban link bracelet, the arrest report said. The witness who had known Thornton said the bracelet appeared to be his.
Scott was out of jail when he was arrested on warrants Friday by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
It wasn’t clear whether investigators still are seeking a second suspect in Thornton’s slaying. Tampa police did not immediately return requests for comment.
Scott remained at the Hillsborough County Jail on Tuesday afternoon in lieu of $700,000 bail.