Three charged in Dixie County stabbing death
Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 1:24 a.m.
Three Mexican men were arrested in Dixie County late Tuesday night and charged with the stabbing death of a fourth Mexican man in Crestview on Feb. 22.
Investigators from three agencies working on the case said all four men were in the United States illegally. The four had been laborers on a road construction project in the Panhandle and used Bobo's Trailer Park, a mobile home park outside Old Town, as their nominal Florida residence.
Sheriff Dewey Hatcher said his deputies accompanied Crestview Police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents to the park late Tuesday. Speaking through interpreters, the suspects reportedly agreed to go to the Dixie County Jail, where they were questioned about the death of an unidentified man. The three were subsequently arrested.
The men arrested were identified as: Miguel Hernandez, 35, charged with murder; Amilio Perez-Diaz, 18, charged with being an accessory after the fact; and a 16-year-old male, who was also charged with being an accessory after the fact. (The Sun generally does not name suspects under age 18.) The deceased man's name was being withheld Wednesday pending notification of relatives.
Crestview Police Department spokesman Lt. Jamie Grant said the investigation began Tuesday morning at 11:10 a.m. when a crew from a septic tank company saw a body in a wooded area behind the Days Inn motel that housed many construction workers. Police began checking motel rooms and found one on the second floor that had apparently been abandoned for several days.
"There was obvious blood on the floor and the four (men) who had been staying there had not been showing up for work," Grant said. The men were traced to Bobo's but only three of them were at the park when deputies arrived late Tuesday.
Grant said that during questioning, one of the suspects told investigators the men had been drinking heavily inside the motel room on Feb. 22 when Hernandez and the victim got into an argument around 11 p.m. One man reportedly made a derogatory comment about the other man's mother and a knife was pulled.
The witness said the argument ended when Hernandez stabbed the victim three times. There were conflicting reports about who said what and who brought the folding knife with the seven-inch blade into the fight.
Following the stabbing, the man was apparently allowed to bleed to death in the room, based on the condition of the room when investigators arrived, Grant said. At least one witness said the man's body was wrapped in trash bags, carried across the parking lot and deposited on a brush pile. The alleged murder weapon was reportedly thrown from the balcony across the parking lot and was recovered on Tuesday.
Karen Voyles can be reached at 486-5058 or email@example.com
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