POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An 85-year-old Kissimme man was found standing in the streets with blood on his hands after he allegedly killed his 90-year-old common-law wife, authorities said.
Jose Tavera is suspected of killing his longtime partner, Hilda Roman, at their home on Martin Lane near Kissimme. He was later seen standing in the middle of the roadway at Marigold Avenue and Bell Tower Crossing in Poinciana, which is in Polk County.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrived to find Tavera in the street with blood on his hands and shirt. They said he couldn’t tell deputies where he lived and was not making sense.
While Tavera was taken to the hospital, deputies went to his home and found the garage door up, and the door leading into the home partially open. There, they found Roman dead in the master bedroom, wearing a nightgown with a wooden side table on top of her.
“She had bruising and lacerations consistent with being beaten,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Investigators said Tavera had dried blood under his fingernails and appeared to be shaken and upset. He said the blood was paint and that a guy had called him earlier that day to do a paint job. But when asked about the phone the guy called him on, Tavera changed his story and said he ran into the guy on the street, deputies said.
Tavera also told detectives he didn’t have a home and just walked the streets. He also said he did not have a phone or a car and denied knowing Hilda Roman, according to the report.
Deputies said Hilda and Jose are not legally married but have lived together for over 60 years, making her his common-law wife.
Tavera also denied being under the influence of any medications and said he was healthy and knew what day it was. Then he stopped answering questions.
Tavera was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, then booked into the Polk County Jail.
He was later committed under the Baker Act and taken to a local medical facility, deputies said.
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