An 85-year-old Florida man has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing his common-law wife of six decades after police found him with blood underneath his fingernails, reports say.
Jose Tavera was arrested Monday after police found Hilda Roman, 90, dead in the master bedroom of their home in Kissimmee, Fla., the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
Police responded to a report of a suspicious man standing in the middle of a roadway in Poinciana, Fla., shortly before 6 a.m., where they spotted the suspect with his hands and shirt covered in blood. When deputies questioned Tavera, he could not recall his address and was transported to a local hospital.
Polk County deputies headed to Tavera’s home to search the premises and found the garage door partially open. Roman's body was found in the master bedroom with “obvious trauma on her face, head, arms and wrists," according to the sheriff's office, which added that her injuries appeared to stem from a beating.
Investigators said there did not appear to be any signs of forced entry.
When detectives first contacted Tavera, they said “he appeared to be shaken and upset," but claimed during an interview to be healthy and not under the influence of any drug. According to detectives, Tavera told them he never met Roman and did not own a house or a car even after they showed him photos.
Relatives told police the couple were not legally married but lived together for over 60 years.
FOX13 reports Tavera denies killing Roman and told detectives the “blood” police found under his fingernails was paint from a job he had done in Orlando. Authorities said Tavera initially claimed a man had called him for help with a painting job, then claimed he had run into the man on the street.
Tavera was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail, where he was charged with first-degree murder. He was then transported to a mental health facility under the Baker Act, according to The Ledger newspaper.
Fox News' Kira Grant contributed to this report.