CELEBRATION, Fla. – A homeless man was charged Monday with beating and strangling a man in what was the first homicide in Celebration, Disney's master-planned central Florida community.
Osceola County Sheriff's spokeswoman Twis H. Lizasuain said detectives arrested David-Israel Murillo, 28, and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of Matteo Giovanditto, 58, who was killed in his home over Thanksgiving weekend.
Murillo and Giovanditto had first met about a year ago, lost touch and then reconnected recently, but Lizasuain would not give specifics about their relationship.
Murillo told detectives he had been drinking with Giovanditto on Nov. 24 when they got into a fight. Murillo told them he became angry and beat Giovanditto unconscious with an ax he found in the closet, Lizasuain said.
"He got what he deserved," Murillo said as he was escorted out of the sheriff's office Monday.
When asked if Giovanditto had tried to have sex with him, Murillo told reporters, "Tried to, and I believe he tried to put something in my drink."
"Something came over me and I felt so mad that he did that," Murillo said. "But you can't justify that," he said, referring to what happened to Giovanditto.
Murillo also told reporters that he had gone to the condo because Giovanditto had offered him a job, although he didn't elaborate.
Lizasuain said Murillo was identified as a person of interest because his photo was found on Giovanditto's computer and his fingerprints were found in the man's condo. He was brought in for questioning Saturday after investigators found out he tried to sell coins owned by the victim.
Detectives said they found Giovanditto's iPad, cash and collectable coins at a wooded homeless camp where Murillo was living.
Giovanditto, a one-time teacher, was known to counsel the homeless and transient, Lizasuain said.
Murillo was being held without bond pending a Tuesday court hearing. It was unclear if he had an attorney.
Disney relinquished control of Celebration several years ago, though the town of 11,000 retains theme park-like flourishes.