Mistaken-identity murder: Warning details may upset some.....
The man suspected of beating an elderly man to death in Bithlo in a case of mistaken identity was found hiding in a muddy pond this afternoon, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies in the K-9 unit tracked 21-year-old Robert Pascale to the muddy waters near Sixth and 10th Street in Bithlo, a spokesman said. Only Pascale's face was exposed. Charges against him are pending.
Deputies say Pascale was the man who allegedly used a black Louisville Slugger baseball bat to bludgeon a 78-year-old man to death inside of a trailer in Bithlo late Tuesday after he was wrongly identified as a sexual predator.
Officials said Pascale killed Hugh Edwards, an elderly man who has no criminal history.
Records show Pascale has a violent criminal past and spent two years in a state prison for stealing a car, burglary, robbery with a deadly weapon and battery on a detention facility staff member, according to Florida Department of Corrections.
He was released from prison in March, records show. Three weeks later he was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana and held overnight at the Orange County Jail.
Details about the mistaken-identity motive were recorded in the arrest report for the Pascale's friend, 32-year-old Michael Garay.
Garay has been arrested and charged with accessory to murder.
It's unclear why the men thought Edwards was a sexual offender. A check into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sexual Offender Registry shows no one under that name is a registered offender or predator.
Deputies were alerted to a possible homicide when Christa Limerick called 911 and said she thought her acquaintances had killed a man inside of a trailer in Bithlo, reports show.
Officers were dispatched to 18838 Fifth Avenue in Bithlo around 4:24 a.m. and found Hugh Edwards dead in a pool of blood. Officers noted there were signs of a struggle.