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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Arrested Prentiss Earl Jackson, 18, of Orlando, who goes by the nickname "Dollar."

Arrested Prentiss Earl Jackson, 18, of Orlando, who goes by the nickname "Dollar." He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of aggravated battery and aggravated assault.The motive for the slayings appears to be gang-related and might have involved drugs or even a possible hit, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said at a news conference Monday."This is probably one of the most confusing and convoluted stories I've ever come across," Gee said.
Among the evidence that suggests a gang connection: letters that had been mailed to the Oakwood Avenue home from certified gang members. Included in those letters, Gee said, were Bloods gang bylaws that "identified rules if you were a member of the gang."Deputies are still searching for the man they say stabbed the incident's lone survivor. Deputies issued a warrant last week for Esteban Merchan, 19, on a charge of aggravated battery in the attack of Ralph Arroyo, 21.Investigators say Jackson, Merchan and three other people drove west on Interstate 4 in a red Mercury Cougar, stopping to buy gloves and other items to disguise themselves. They arrived at the Oakwood Avenue home about midnight Dec. 28 for a prearranged meeting. Fifteen minutes later, the first shots rang out.Prentiss Jackson, 18, was being held in the Osceola County jail on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated assault, according to jail records. Jackson was wanted in the Dec. 29 shooting and stabbing in a Brandon-area backyard.Hillsborough residents Rafael Guadalupe, 21, Tony Black, 22, and Vincent Thomas, 22, were found dead in the Oakwood Avenue South attack.Ralph Arroyo, 21, was stabbed but survived. Three people were killed and another was injured in the shooting and stabbing.
Hillsborough County deputies were called to the house shortly after midnight, when one of Thomas' relatives heard shots and called authorities.Witnesses said several suspects approached the victims in the backyard, argued with people there, then attacked. Thomas and Black were fatally shot. Guadalupe was stabbed.The suspects fled northbound in a red Ford Mustang, which was later recovered by Orange County deputies.Esteban Merchan, 19, of Kissimmee, is being sought in the attack. He is described as between 160 and 170 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair. Investigators think he is a member of the Bloods street gang.Merchan is possibly driving a four-door, 2009 silver Toyota Prius. Its tag number is V808SD.
Merchan faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office news release. Investigators think he attacked the surviving victim.Jackson was arrested Friday by Osceola County deputy sheriffs, according to jail records.
Arroyo was in a car at the scene. Jackson ordered Arroyo out of the car at gunpoint, and Arroyo suffered a superficial stab wound to the head before he escaped by running into the woods, Gee said.
Merchan likely fled to New York, where he has friends. He is a member of the Bloods, the same gang as 22-year-old victim Tony Black, the sheriff's office said. Vincent Thomas, 22, and Rafael G. Guadalupe, 21, also died in the attack at 507 S. Oakwood Ave.The three others in the Mercury have been identified, but Gee wouldn't disclose their names. He did not identify the trio as suspects or witnesses.
Someone stabbed Guadalupe in the back yard "multiple, multiple times," killing him, Gee said.Merchan, whose last known address was in Kissimmee, is Hispanic, 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 160 to 170 pounds. He has short black hair and brown eyes. The sheriff's office said he may be driving a 2009 silver, four-door Toyota Prius with the license number V808SD.Thomas lived at the home with his wife and two children. Friends of Thomas say they don't think he was affiliated with gangs. He was a school bus driver for Armwood High School


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