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Man murdered ex-roommate over missing PlayStation 4: ‘He put up a good fight’

A Florida man will spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury found him guilty of murdering his former roommate, whom he suspected of stealing some of his belongings.

On Friday, Jake “Jay” Bilotta, 26, was convicted of first-degree, premeditated murder for the 2018 death of Joshua Barnes, who was just 24 when Bilotta lured him to his residence and then savagely butchered him with a knife.

Bilotta and three other males had been sharing a residence in Maitland, Florida, just north of Orlando, in November 2018. Barnes — aka Josh Sosa, aka Josh Brown — had also lived at the residence for a couple weeks, but the roommates kicked him out after they suspected that he had not paid his share of the rent and that he had stolen some of their belongings, including a bong, a pair of shoes, a watch, and Bilotta’s PlayStation 4. A police report indicates that Barnes had never been given keys to the residence.

Prosecutors argued in court that the missing PlayStation outraged Bilotta to such an extent that he planned to kill Barnes out of “revenge.” Bilotta then conspired with roommate Ian McClurg to invite Barnes back to the home under the pretense of going to a party together. Bilotta planned to greet Barnes at the door with a knife, while McClurg sat on the couch to prevent Barnes from making an escape. When Barnes arrived, Bilotta immediately plunged the knife into Barnes, stabbing him a reported 17 times, while Barnes yelled, “You’re killing me.”

A third roommate, Walter Johnson, then returned home and saw Bilotta and McClurg attempting to stuff Barnes’ deceased remains into plastic bags. Johnson also reportedly heard Bilotta say that he had to “give the f***er credit, he put up a good fight,” in reference to Barnes. Johnson immediately called police.

With officers on their way, McClurg cowered in a bathroom, where he was arrested, while Bilotta fled the residence on foot. Police found Bilotta about a mile away, barefoot and covered in blood.

In January 2020, McClurg pled guilty to tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact. He also agreed to testify against Bilotta.

At trial, Bilotta took the stand and claimed that he had stabbed Barnes in self-defense. “He actually managed to get hold of my hand, and I was trying to pull away, but I was … starting to get nervous with what was going on in the scenario because things escalated,” Bilotta testified. “It was basically 0-100.”

The jury didn’t buy it. They convicted Bilotta, spared him the death penalty, and instead sentenced him to life in prison. McClurg has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, followed by 10 years of supervised release.

u201cSeminole Jury finds Jake Bilotta Guilty of 1st Degree Murder in the death of Joshua Barnes in 2018. Prosecutors successfully argued the motive was revenge for theft of a PlayStation, not self defense as Bilotta claimed. Sentenced to Life in DOCu201d

— State Attorney 18th Circuit FL (@State Attorney 18th Circuit FL)

u201cIan MCCLURG (22) enters plea in 2018 PlayStation revenge murder of Joshua Barnes (24) and agrees to testify against co-defendant, Jake BILOTTA (23) in future trial.

— State Attorney 18th Circuit FL (@State Attorney 18th Circuit FL)