While Orlando police arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of his neighbor, they discovered another body in his backyard.
Jimmy Merritt, 37, was arrested on Tuesday in the murder of Benny Hallmark who was found dead on Friday in his lawn chair at his home, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Police traced Merritt to the crime when they discovered Hallmark’s checks had been stolen and Merritt cashed one in for $1,500, according to the Sentinel. Merritt lived 200 feet away from Hallmark, but it is unclear if the two men knew each other, police said.
Officers obtained a warrant for Merritt’s arrest on charges of grand theft and uttering a forged check. They then spoke to a witness who said Merritt admitted to killing another person and buried the victim in his backyard, the Sentinel reports.
Police took Merritt into custody and when they searched his home they found a “badly decomposed body” wrapped in plastic and buried under a pile of wood, according to the Sentinel. Officers also found a firearm believed to be used in Hallmark’s murder.
The body found in Merritt’s home has not been identified, and charges are pending until a medical examiner’s report is completed, according to the Sentinel.
Merritt remains at the Orange County Jail on charges of first-degree murder in Hallmark’s death, grand theft, and fraud.
Read more at orlandosentinel.com
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