A man has been arrested for allegedly killing another homeless man in a Florida encampment over his public masturbatory habits, police said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a media briefing that police were called to a homeless encampment in Winter Haven where they found a body buried in a shallow grave in the Eloise jungle, or encampment.
He says that police also saw a man who ran away after they gave chase about the same time. That man was identified as Robert Simmons, 42, also known as “Mexico,” and witnesses said he had previously gotten into an altercation with the 39-year-old victim.
“This is one bad hombre. He’s mean. He’s been in prison four times,” said Judd. “He’s got a lot of criminal charges, everything from misdemeanors, to felonies, to violent felonies. And he put our victim in the grave.”
Judd said the victim had also been in prison eight times. Judd says witnesses told police that Simmons beat up and injured the man after catching him masturbating in public in the encampment. A later time he caught him again and allegedly murdered the man and buried him.
Judd says that police searched for Simmons for 18 hours before “pushing” him out of the Eloise woods and capturing him.
When Simmons was asked about the charges by a reporter as he was led out by police, he denied that he killed the man but admitted that he got into an altercation with him.
“No ma’am,” said Simmons when asked if he killed the victim. “I got into it with him, I got into a fight with him. But I definitely didn’t kill that man. But it’s easy to accuse somebody who’s already been in trouble for a lot.
Judd pointed out that the suspect had exhibited many mosquito bites from hiding in the swamp from police.
“I’m telling you right now, there are mosquitoes the size of bald eagles in that dadgum swamp, it is a rough rough rough area,” Judd added.
Simmons was on probation at the time of his arrest, and he was charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and resisting.
Here’s a local news report about the incident:
Suspect arrested in murder over alleged masturbation disagreement at homeless camp