Jeffrey Chapman Clearwater Beach, Florida cyclist randomly attacked and beaten to death with tire iron by two men in random attack. Jermaine Bennett, Tampa man arrested as cops seek second man.
‘Ills of society got to me…’ A Florida man has admitted to ‘randomly’ attacking and bludgeoning to death a bicyclist with a tire iron in the early morning hours of Friday with cops now seeking a second man who they say also participated in the unprovoked attack.
The body of 49-year-old victim, Jeffrey Chapman, was found shortly after 12:30 a.m. Friday on Mandalay Avenue in Clearwater. Deputy Chief Michael Walek told reporters that the Chapman was struck with the tire iron more than 10 times.
Chapman was found deceased along a North Beach sidewalk with blunt force trauma to the upper body.
‘This case was very heinous and very violent,’ Walek said during a Saturday press conference.
Police arrested 26-year-old Tampa man, Jermaine Adrian Bennett in connection with the attack while he was working in Wesley Chapel, a nearby community. He is expected to be charged with first-degree murder, WPEC-TV reported.
Suspect said ‘ills of society had gotten to him’
Chief Walek told of Bennett confessing to being involved in the attack and displaying zero remorse.
‘During the interview, [Bennett] showed no remorse for the killing,’ Walek told reporters, according to WFLA-TV.
Chief Walek said Chapman was targeted at random and that Bennett and the other suspect had no reason to instigate the violence.
‘It was a chance encounter that turned deadly while the victim was simply trying to ride his bike home,’ Walek told reporters, adding that ‘the ills of society’ got to the victim.
Chapman had worked in finance and was a snowbird who bicycled around the oceanfront community on a regular basis, the Tampa Bay Times reported. He lived in a condo about one mile from where his body was found.
Neighbors in Clearwater told FOX 13 they couldn’t believe this happened in their community.
‘I just think everybody here is in shock,’ Mike Mitchell told FOX13.
Second suspect sought
Bennett was tracked down after being identified as the owner of a vehicle used in the attack captured on surveillance video.
During questioning, Bennett bragged that he had been expecting police ‘all day long’ following the attack.
‘He even said, in fact, that he’d been waiting all day for us to show up — went right to work shortly after doing this, no remorse at all,’ Walek told reporters.
Investigators believe Bennett is the individual who is responsible for using the tire iron to kill Chapman, with a second man also involved in the slaying. That person has not been identified publicly, but Walek urged him to turn himself in.
‘It’s only a matter of time before we get you,’ Walek said during the press conference.
Bennett remained held at Pasco County Jail awaiting extradition to Pinellas County, Walek said.
Did suspects take part in similar attack earlier that evening?
Pasco court records show that Bennett, who lived for a while in Wesley Chapel, was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2014. The case was later dropped.
The second suspect is described as slender and more than 6 feet tall. He and Bennett were reportedly traveling in a black 2014 Nissan Altima, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Authorities are examining whether Bennett and the other man took part in a similar attack earlier in the evening in St. Petersburg where the victim survived.
To report information about the case, including the identity of the second suspect, call the Clearwater Police Department at 727-562-4242.
Chapman is survived by a daughter, 27, and a son, 25.