Reward offered in Suwannee triple murder
One suspect has been arrested, while two others remain at large.
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.
A $10,000 reward is being offered in the triple murder of three Suwannee County residents a week ago. The sheriff leading the investigation said all three deaths appear not to be a result of a robbery gone wrong.
Investigators have arrested one man in the case and are looking for two others who are believed to be armed, have violent criminal histories and are affiliated with the Black Pistons motorcycle gang of Tampa.
Sheriff Tony Cameron reviewed the crimes and released additional details about the case during a press conference Tuesday afternoon in the lobby of the Suwannee County Jail.
Joseph Militello Jr., 57; his wife, Nancy Militello, 68; and Angelo Rosales, 32, were found dead by an employee in one room of the Militellos' home on Aug. 26. The three had been tied up and each shot once from behind, Cameron said.
The home is on a farm that Joseph Militello owned near the intersection of 172nd Street and 129th Road. The home also served as a sort of headquarters for his others businesses - scrap metal, rental property and used cars.
Cameron said during the press conference that Militello's business interests often involved cash transactions and that a large amount of cash was taken from the home at the time of the murders.
"I don't think we'll ever know how much is missing," Cameron said. "I think the murders and the robberies were planned."
On Friday, deputies arrested Keith Allen Hughes, 25, of O'Brien, on a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. On Tuesday deputies were distributing posters identifying the two others wanted in the case.
Warrants have been issued for James Lindsey Howze, 38, of Lake City, and Lonnie Robert Munn, 47, whose most recent address was believed to be 11251 147th Place in Live Oak. The warrants charge both fugitives with three counts of murder.
Among the places that Howze and Munn may have headed are Tampa, where their motorcycle gang is located, as well as Michigan and Ohio, where they have relatives, Cameron said.
"We are looking for them up and down the Eastern Seaboard, but we think they could still be in this area," Cameron said. Howze and Munn are believed to be driving a 1995, burgundy and silver Dodge Ram 1500 with a regular cab. Investigators said the truck is owned by Munn's girlfriend but the fugitives have likely removed the Florida license plate from it.
Cameron would not say what type of gun Howze and Munn are apparently carrying, but the sheriff did say that all three of the murder victims were shot with the same weapon.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Munn was most recently released from state prison in January 2009 after completing his seventh prison sentence since 1988. His prison sentences have been the result of convictions for robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, drug offenses, forgery and dealing in stolen property.
Howze was released early from prison and has been on probation since May 2008.
He was sentenced to a 25-year prison term in 1993 after being convicted of second-degree murder and battery on a law enforcement officer, but he was released 10 years early.
During the press conference, a woman who had worked for the family for more than three years held up photos of all three victims and told reporters the Militellos were like grandparents to her own children.
"I want everyone to know the faces that these evil men took away," Marcia Riegel said. "They (Militellos) moved up here from Tampa about seven years ago to get away from everything (criminal) down there. I cannot understand why anyone would have wanted to hurt them."
Riegel's responsibilities included making doctor appointments, completing title work on vehicle sales, answering the phones and handling other chores that Nancy Militello likely handled in previous years.
"She was on dialysis three times a week and she was losing her eyesight," Riegel said.
Services for the victims will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Daniels Funeral Home in Live Oak. Another service will be held in Dade City on Friday afternoon and will be followed by internment in a Dade City area cemetery, according to Riegel.
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