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Celebration Florida Murder: Homeless Man Charged

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By Jason Beahm on December 07, 2010 6:16 AM

After last week's murder in Celebration, Florida residents wondered whether the community was still safe. In an event the Sheriff's office called "very rare and unusual," Celebration had its first homicide. Now the case has taken a new turn.

A homeless man strangled and used an ax to batter to death a 58-year-old man who had been counseling him, police told CNN. The homeless man, who said the victim "had [it] coming" was arrested days later after trying to sell the victim's collector coins.

David-Israel Zenon Murillo has been arrested and charged with first degree murderFirst degree murder is an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated, meaning that the attacker planned or was "lying in wait" for the victim.

Celebration, Florida was created in 1996, just five miles south of Walt Disney World, designed to be a picture-perfect community complete with white picket fences, palm trees and manicured lawns. Some mocked it as a place for "Stepford Wives," but residents loved Celebration and it grew to 11,000 residents. Now the community must deal with the reality that murder is possible in any town.

Celebration resident Matteo Giovanditto went missing along with his black Corvette. After a missing person report was filed, neighbors went to his apartment and discovered his body, The Associated Press reports.

According to police, Murillo repeatedly struck Giovanditto with an axe and hit his head on the floor until he died. Murillo had been drinking with Giovanditto earlier in the night. Murillo's fingerprints were allegedly found in the residence as well as on other evidence including a photo on Giovanditto's computer. Murillo was later allegedly found selling coins owned by Giovanditto and then found in possession of an iPad, cash and other property of Giovanditto's at Murillo's campsite in the woods.

Related Resources:

  • Transient charged in killing in Disney-built town (Fox News)
  • Celebration Florida's First Disney Murder (FindLaw's Blotter)
  • Murder: First Degree (FindLaw)
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