GRAPHIC WARNING: The details in this article may be too disturbing for some readers.
LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — An affidavit released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office revealed new disturbing details in the murder of Stephen Lee Rodda, who deputies say was killed by his own father.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Stephen Thomas Rodda, 37, killed his son in a “horrific” murder at a mobile home in Lake Wales Monday morning.
According to the sheriff’s office, the murder scene was discovered by the victim’s grandfather, Thomas Rodda, who was returning home from visiting his wife at the Palm Gardens Rehabilitation Center.
“When [Thomas Rodda] left the residence [at 8:00 a.m.], only Stephen Lee Rodda (victim) and Stephen Thomas Rodda (suspect) were at the residence,” the affidavit said.
Before going inside the home at around 11 a.m., the victim’s grandfather was met by the suspect, who asked for a cigarette before giving him a cryptic warning.
“His quote was, ‘I wouldn’t go in there if I was you, I killed someone. You may need to call the police,’” Judd said.
The 16-year-old victim was found inside the dining area of the home. According to the affidavit, Stephen Thomas Rodda “viciously and brutally” hit his son’s head with the angle grinder so hard that it broke the tool, which was found next to the teenager’s body.
Deputies later found Stephen Thomas Rodda on Highway 60 near West Lake Wales Road North. He had “blood on his jeans and a fresh laceration on the knuckle of his right-hand index finger,” according to authorities.
The document said during an interview with detectives, the victim’s father, Stephen Thomas Rodda, said he thought his son died years ago when he was a child and other conflicting statements.
According to the sheriff’s office, Stephen Thomas Rodda showed “no remorse or concern” for killing his son. The Polk County sheriff said the suspect had a history of psychotic episodes, as well as a problem with methamphetamine use.
During his first appearance in court, Stephen Thomas Rodda claimed to be from Montana, going by a different name, and said he owned the NFL.
The suspect was charged with first-degree murder after his arrest. He is being held on no bond as of Tuesday, Sept. 5.
“Our prayers are with the family, and I want you to know that the world lost a great young man today,” Judd said. “We lost a great young man, and we’ve got an evil, evil man in custody, and we’re going to do our best to see he spends the rest of his life in prison.”