Hernando man murdered, buried in Withlacoochee State Forest - WFLA News Channel 8

Hernando man murdered, buried in Withlacoochee State Forest

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Daniel Brunette is charged with 2nd degree murder. Hernando Co. Jail booking photo Daniel Brunette is charged with 2nd degree murder. Hernando Co. Jail booking photo
HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Hernando County Sheriff's deputies say a man murdered his neighbor and then buried his body in a shallow grave.

Deputies arrested 33-year old Daniel Brunette late Thursday afternoon. He's facing a second degree murder charge.

Detectives say Brunette and 22-year old Darius Hampton were talking about ripping off drug dealers in the parking lot of the Withlacoochee Trail. The pair argued and that's when investigators say Brunette shot Hampton several times, killing him. They say he then disposed of the body in the Withlacoochee State Forest about 15 miles away, then he came back and buried the body.

Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis says his investigators have an iron clad case against Brunette. "We have at least one vehicle and we have some other evidence that we have gathered," said Nienhuis. "And we believe we have the murder weapon. "

At the home where Hampton was staying with friends, his girlfriend, Mariah James, wiped tears from her eyes.

"He was an awesome guy, he was a great guy, he was young, wild you know, a little bit.... Never, never, he didn't deserve this. At all," said James. She said he left with Brunette on Wednesday night, headed to the grocery store and never returned home.

"Like, he never just ignores, he wasn't talking to anybody," said James.

"He wasn't talking to his mom, he wasn't talking to his other baby's mother, he wasn't talking to anyone else. And that's how I know something was wrong. His phone was off the entire time. "

Deputies are holding Brunette in the Hernando County Jail without bond.

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