A North Florida man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after authorities say he beat a man and a woman to death with a baseball bat and then photographed their bodies.
Authorities said Saturday that Craig Arron Lede, 40, of Spring Hill is being held without bond after telling investigators that he killed John Ketsemidis, 29, and Dana Nelson, 28, at Lede's house on Wednesday when he became enraged that a debt couldn't be repaid. The suspect also allegedly drove to the home of the male victim's mother the next day trying to get money while the female victim's body was stashed in the trunk.
"The defendant stated he killed John and Dana because he was tired of being `screwed over,'" Hernando County Sheriff's Detective Randy Wiliamson wrote in an arrest affidavit. "The defendant demonstrated how he swung the baseball bat and struck both victims. The defendant stated he photographed the bodies and intended to keep the picture as a trophy..."
According to a news release from the sheriff's office, Ketsemidis' mother called authorities Friday in a panic because she hadn't heard from her son in a few days. She told authorities that Lede had come by her house on Thursday, telling a bizarre story that her son was at a local hospital and that he needed money. Lede was driving her son's BMW, she said.
Hernando County sheriff's deputies headed to Lede's home that afternoon in an effort to locate Ketsemidis _ they had also traced him to the address through an ankle-monitoring device he was wearing because he was on probation. There deputies noticed what they believed was a body wrapped in a blanket on the garage floor, according to the news release.
"At that time Craig became very nervous and asked the deputies to leave unless they had a search warrant," according to the statement.
Lede, who is unemployed and had a warrant for a probation violation, was immediately taken into custody. It's unclear if he has an attorney.
As deputies pursued an arrest warrant, Lede began talking to investigators at the sheriff's office, authorities said,
Lede said the couple came to his house late Wednesday night and that Ketsemidis said he couldn't repay money he owed him, the news release said. Authorities said Lede became enraged and used a bat to strike Ketsemidis in the head, knocking him to the ground, and then to strike Nelson in the head.
"Once the victims were down and helpless, the defendant struck them in the head and upper body several times causing eventual death," the arrest affidavit says. "The defendant used his camera to photograph the deceased victims."
Authorities subsequently found both bodies in Lede's garage _ Ketsemidis' wrapped in a blanket, and Nelson's in the trunk of Ketsemidis' BMW.
The arrest affidavit says Lede acknowledged that he had "run errands with Dana's body still in the trunk."
Lede was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery. Authorities said Lede was wearing a gold Bulova watch that he removed from Ketsemidis' body.
Authorities believe Lede acted alone. He is currently being held without bond.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/uEtXPg ) that Lede has a history of domestic violence and a September 2010 battery charge. His father-in-law David Stenger told the newspaper that Lede once struck Stenger's daughter, prompting her to leave the marriage, file a restraining order against him and begin the divorce process.
Stenger said Lede's behavior worsened following a devastating car accident and he became addicted to painkillers.
Lede and the two victims had all been patients at Hope Pain Management Clinic, which was closed a month ago after a lengthy investigation by the sheriff's office.
"There is little doubt that (prescription drugs) significantly contributed to the deaths of these two young people," Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a statement. "This is a perfect example that prescription drug abuse is not a victimless or a non-violent crime."