TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa police have arrested the suspect they say gunned down a South Tampa man in his own bedroom.
Detectives found 42-year-old Roy Dean already locked up in the Pasco county jail on unrelated charges. 8 On Your Side has learned Dean later confessed to the crime.
Stephens’ name made news in August 2018 when another man shot him because of an argument on Facebook. Police say that case is not connected to the murder investigation.
Dean’s arrest report reads that Dean and the victim got into a fight and Stephens sucker-punched him. As Stephens’ roommates escorted Dean out of the house, he threatened “I’ll be back for you and I’ll kill you.”
Ten minutes later, investigators say Dean did just that, shooting and killing Stephens through his bedroom window.
In 2018, Brian Sebring was charged with attempted murder after detectives say he shot Stephens after the two traded jabs on Facebook over politics. The case is still working its way through court and has not gone to trial yet.
Stephens’ loved ones worry his murder could mean Sebring gets off the hook, as Stephens’ testimony at trial would be key evidence.
“When I went to the hospital to see him two days later, he told me that guy tried to kill him,” recounted Stephens’ friend Jerome Parham, referring to the 2018 shooting. “He hid behind a tree and was steady shooting at him.”
Parham described his friend as a guy who didn’t take any nonsense, but had a heart of gold.
“He was a good guy,” he said. “Helped me with my family for four years, helped me raise my kids basically.”
8 On Your Side asked the state attorney’s office what, if any, impact Stephens’ death could have on the Sebring attempted murder prosecution. That message was not returned.
Dean is charged with first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm. His former convictions include grand theft, burglary, and drug possession.
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