7th suspect arrested in connection to Tallahassee murder

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 19, 2017

(Clockwise from top left) Jesse Fox, Britteny Guthrie, David Howard, Paige Vowell, Page Briggs, Patrick Berrane and Stanley West.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A seventh suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder of a man found dead in the trunk of a car at the U Club Apartments in Tallahassee last week.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals, announced Friday that after a brief standoff, they have arrested Jesse Fox, 29, in connection with the homicide of Hoyt Birge.

LCSO says Fox was taken into custody at a residence on Gardenbrook Lane, off of Victory Garden Drive. He was arrested on a warrant for accessory to murder.

Britteny Guthrie, 25, Stanley West, 31, David Howard, 28, Paige Vowell, 28, Page Briggs, 32, and Patrick Berrane, 21, have all been charged in the case.

This is a developing story. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 16, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A sixth suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder of 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

Britteny Guthrie, 25, of Tallahasee, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact to a capital felony.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office confirms that her arrest was in connection to the murder of Hoyt Birge, who was found dead in the trunk of a car at the U Club apartments on N. Woodward Avenue on May 9th.

Stanley West, 31, David Howard, 28, Paige Vowell, 28, Page Briggs, 32, and Patrick Berrane, 21, have all been charged in the case.

Guthrie is being held in the Leon County Jail on $25,000 bond.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 16, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A fifth suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder of 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

Stanley West, 31, of Carrabelle, is charged with murder, aggravated battery, false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm during a felony.

According to arrest documents, West was identified as one of the suspects involved in an altercation with Birge at a home on Mission Road on the evening of May 8.

Investigators say Birge was shot and killed during a struggle with multiple suspects.

Police say the suspects put Birge's body in the trunk of a car that was found the next morning at the U Club apartments on N. Woodward Avenue.

David Howard, 28, Paige Vowell, 28, Page Briggs, 32, and Patrick Berrane, 21, were arrested last week in the case.

West is being held without bond in the Leon County Jail.


By: Erin Lisch
May 11, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Deputies connecting two more people to this week's vicious murder in Tallahassee.

28-year-old David Howard and 28-year-old Paige Vowell, joining two men already behind bars for the crime.

Howard facing charges of First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Carjacking, Possession of a firearm during a first degree felony and two counts of False imprisonment.

Vowell is charged with accessory to the murder.

Hoyt Birge's body found wrapped in plastic in the trunk of a car Monday morning at the U Club apartments.

New arrest documents show Vowell is the girlfriend of fellow suspect page Briggs.

Those arrest papers say on the night of the murder Vowell asked to buy prescription drugs from Birge.

On Monday night, Birge showed up at Briggs’ Mission Road home to sell the drugs.

When Birge went inside, four men ambushed and beat him.

Deputies say Briggs was one of them, wearing a bulletproof vest. Howard, also likely one of those men.

Birge was also shot after reaching for a gun.

Vowell allegedly helped clean blood off the walls.

Suspects then drove Birge's body to the u club apartments, leaving it in a car in the parking lot.

Briggs and Patrick Berrane are already behind bars on murder and other charges.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says they're not done with this case, they tell WCTV they're looking for other people involved.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 11, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Leon County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, has arrested two more suspects in connection with the murder of 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

David Howard, 28, was arrested Thursday and charged with first degree murder, kidnapping, carjacking, possession of a firearm during a first degree felony and two counts of false imprisonment.

Paige Vowell, 28, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with accessory after the fact first degree murder.

Birge was found dead in the trunk of a car parked at the U Club student apartments in Tallahassee on Tuesday morning.

A total of four suspects have now been charged in Birge's murder.

Page Briggs, 32, and Patrick Berrane, 21, were arrested earlier in the week.

LCSO says investigators have determined this was not a random act and are continuing to follow leads in the case. Officials are currently looking for other individuals who were involved.


By: Erin Lisch
May 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leon County deputies and U.S. marshals arresting two people so far in the murder of Hoyt Birge at a home on Mission Road.

The homeowner, 32-year-old Page Briggs, and 21-year-old Patrick Berrane have been arrested.

Neighbors living next door to the scene are still in shock.

Neighbor Jean Kellum said, "It's beyond disconcerting, it's terrifying."

Looking over at the home Elondia Porter said, "Scary never though it would happen so close."

Arrest documents released Wednesday say Birge was allegedly beat with a hammer, shot and put in the trunk of a car.

"Waking up the next morning and seeing all the police, it was just scary," said Porter.

Also living next door Elicia Porter said, "I don't want to pass by here, I don't want to see it here no more."

That report goes on to say Birge and a friend entered the home Monday night.

At one point, being told to get on the floor.

During a struggle it says Birge reached for a rifle held by Patrick Berrane, then the gun went off.

"It just does not sit right by me knowing someone was killed in the house right there and it's so close... it brings chills to my body," said Elicia Porter.

Police later found Birge’s body at the U Club apartments, wrapped in plastic in the car's trunk.

Neighbors say they just can't shake the horrific details of that night.

"It's terrible that things like that change your whole life, but they do! They really do. I can't behave the same way I did now that these things happened literally right there next to me," said Kellum.

While two people are now in jail, investigators say they're still looking for others who may be involved.

The big focus right now for investigators is figuring out the motive of this murder.


By: Erin Lisch
May 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Two suspects have been arrested for the murder of 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office confirmed the arrests of Patrick M Berrane, 21, and Page Briggs, 33, on Wednesday.

Birge was found dead on Tuesday morning in a vehicle at the U Club apartments on Woodward Avenue in Tallahassee.

According to LCSO, on Monday night, Birge and his friend went to a residence on Mission Road owned by Page Briggs. When they arrived at the residence, they were allowed inside and began to speak with two females in the living room. Shortly after entering the home, four male suspects, all armed with various firearms, exited a back room. Two of the males were identified as Briggs and Patrick Berrane.

LCSO says an altercation ensued and Birge and his friend were told to lie on the floor. While on the floor, Birge was physically attacked. Birge reached for a rifle that Berrane was holding and the weapon fired, striking Birge.

LCSO says Birge was then placed in the trunk of a silver Toyota Camry owned by the friend’s mother. Berrane and another suspect then told Birge's friend to get in the car. They drove to several locations, including to a residence where Berrane was possibly living at the time. They eventually took the friend to his residence where he was instructed to get money and come back. When the friend got to his residence, he was able to notify law enforcement of the situation.

Court documents list Berrane's address at the U Club apartments.

Berrane was arrested and charged with homicide, kidnapping, robbery/carjacking, possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony and false imprisonment.

Briggs was arrested and charged with homicide, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, commission of a crime wearing a bulletproof vest.

Both suspects were booked into the Leon County Jail.

Investigators have determined this was not a random act and are continuing to follow investigative leads. LCSO is currently looking for other individuals that were involved.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact the LCSO Violent Crime Unit at 850-606-3400.


By: Erin Lisch
May 9, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A man found dead in a car at a Tallahassee apartment complex has been identified late as 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

Birge's body was found at about 10:30 Tuesday morning at the U Club apartments at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Brevard Street.

A Leon County Sheriff's Office spokesman says the investigation into Birge's death is now focused on a home on Mission Road about three miles away.

The scene at a home on mission road lined with crime tape, investigators going inside evidence cones marked.

Deputies were called to the home at about 3:30 a.m.
Leaving an unsettling feeling for neighbors.

Living near the scene, Jean Kellum said, "It's very disconcerting when you wake up and see that you're being surrounded by police cars."

Living right next door, Taryce Debose, "I mean it's mind boggling that something like this is happening right next door to my family."

LCSO is combing through the home searching for clues, to find out why Hoyt Birge was found dead in a car only a few miles away at the U Club apartments.

Looking outside of her apartment at U Club, Natalia Lopez said, “It was right outside our window, well I see people with bullet proof vests."

U Club is a gated complex, knowing a dead body was found here shocking residents.

U Club resident Tori Montemurro said, "I kind of assumed someone broken into a car but then I looked outside and realized all the cars and all the people that were there and thought it must be more serious than that."

Living in U Club for less than a year, Keira Mogelnicki said, "It just like freaks me out, I'm on my way to my friend’s house right now, so we're just going to hang out and act like never happened."

Law enforcement suspect foul play is involved, which is leaving people on edge.

"That settling feeling kind of goes away a little bit and that sucks because that's where I live," said Lopez.

The questions of who did this, how it happened and why are still up in the air.

LCSO says it does not appear that Birge drove the car to the complex.

They are also working to locate multiple people in the case.


By: Julie Montanaro
May 9, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A man found dead in a car at a Tallahassee apartment complex was identified late this afternoon as 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

Birge's body was found at about 10:30 Tuesday morning at the U Club apartments at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Brevard Street.

A Leon County Sheriff's Office spokesman says the investigation into Birge's death is now focused on a home on Mission Road about three miles away.

Crime tape surrounds the home on Mission Road.

Crime scene investigators wearing protective suits walked in and out all afternoon collecting evidence.

"Obviously you think the worst and hope for the best," neighbor Jean Kellum said. "It's very disconcerting when you wake up and see that you're being surrounded by police cars."

Deputies were called to the home at about 3:30 a.m.

What they found there led them to a silver Toyota Camry at the U Club apartments.

Security guards made sure we stayed outside the gates, but deputies tell us the car was parked in a parking space at the very back of the complex. Birge was dead inside.

Deputies would not comment on the cause of death or where in the car his body was found.

"I can't believe it. It's just mind boggling," Taryce Debose said.
Debose lives next door to the house on Mission Road. She's anxious for answers.

"Being a victim of a tragedy myself, my sister was murdered last year," Debose said, "I know how important that is to a family... figuring out what happened to their loved ones."

LCSO continues to investigate and talk to witnesses. The big questions now - who did this and why?


By: Julie Montanaro; WCTV Eyewitness News
May 9, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Leon County Sheriff's Office identifying the body found at the U Club on Woodward student apartments as 32-year-old Hoyt Birge.

The complex is located at the corner of N. Woodward Avenue and W. Brevard Street.

LCSO Lieutenant Grady Jordan tells reporters that at approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday, officials responded to an incident in the 2600 block of Mission Road. Detectives began interviewing witnesses and a received information about a silver Toyota vehicle.

Deputies began searching the area for the vehicle and located it in the parking lot of the U Club apartment complex around 10:30 a.m.

LCSO says a male was found dead inside of the vehicle.

Lt. Jordan says it does not appear that the victim drove the car to the complex.

The Crime Scene Unit responded to the scene and is currently collecting evidence.

Authorities say foul play is suspected in the death and they are working to locate multiple subjects in the case.

The victim's identity and cause of death have not yet been released.

Officials say they are still working to determine the nature of the original incident that occurred on Mission Road and are interviewing multiple witnesses. Crime scene tape remains up in that area, across from the Gretchen Everhart School.

We spoke with a man who identified himself as the U Club manager. He had no comment and referred us to the complex's corporate office. The complex is gated and we were not allowed past the gate, nor could we see the crime scene beyond the fences.


Hoyt Birge