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State Attorney Seeks Death Penalty in Triple Homicide Case

By: Candace Sweat Email
By: Candace Sweat Email

UPDATED 10/22 By Candace Sweat at 6:30pm

State Attorney Skip Jarvis says making the decision to pursue the death penalty is a responsibility he does not take lightly.

But he spoke with the family of Joseph and Nancy Militelo as well as Angelo Rosales before making his decision, and says they were in agreement that these two men should pay the ultimate price.

Jarvis carries a heavy responsibility as a prosecutor, and says each case presents its own challenge.

"Being in favor of the death penalty I recognize that its a necessary evil. But I do it based on my conscience and what I believe is the right thing to do in each case," said Jarvis.

And in the case of the Joseph and Nancy Militello, and their nephew Angelo Rosales found shot to death in their McAplin home, Jarvis says nothing less than the death penalty is appropriate for the men accused taking their lives.

He said, "This is an atrocious situation where three family members were getting ready to have super and to have someone come and kick in the front door and ultimately shoot each one of them."

On September 28th, 38-year-old James Howze and 47-year-old Lonnie Munn were indicted on ten different charges, including three counts of first degree murder.

On Friday Jarvis made the announcement that many in the community had been waiting for - he will purse the death penalty.

But his announcement didn't come before getting input from the victims' family members who say they back Jarvis' decision 100 percent.

The family did not wish to comment on camera but released a statement saying. It said: "We support his decision and we are very happy with the choice he made."

A third suspect, Keith Hughes, was also taken into custody for his involvement in the murders but took his own life just days before the indictment.

As for Howze and Munn, we will keep you updated as the case moves forward.
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Suwannee County, FL - A grand jury has decided to indict James Howze, 37, and Lonnie Munn, 47, on ten different charges.
Authorities say the two men were arrested for the shooting deaths of Nancy and Joseph Militello and their nephew Angelo Rosales at their home in McAlpin, Florida on August 26, 2010.
The two men were indicted Tuesday September 28 for three counts of first degree murder, three counts of home invasion robbery with a firearm, three counts of kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit home invasion robbery.
WCTV has included the court release and previous stories regarding the triple homicide in Suwannee County.

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Suspect Involved in Triple Homicide Commits Suicide
9-27-2010 - 25-year-old Keith Hughes was found dead inside a jail cell over the weekend and authorities are saying he hung himself.

A spokesperson from the Suwannee County Sherriff's office said around sunrise Saturday morning a Suwannee County Jail employee found Hughes hanging in his cell.

Authorities say he was not under 24-hour surveillance and would not go into detail about what he used to hang himself.

Hughes was being held for his involvement in the shooting deaths of Joseph and Nancy Militello, and their nephew, Angelo Rosales, at their home in McAlpin, Florida on August 26.

Authorities say FDLE is investigating Huges' death at this time.

There are still two other men being held responsible for the Militello deaths. 38-year-old James Howze and 47-year-old Lonnie Munn who are being held at the Suwannee County Jail on charges of first degree murder.

We sat down with members of the Militello family today and they say this whole ordeal has been almost too much to handle.

But they did commend authorities on their work and believe they've done a good job since this all began.

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*** Update 9-7-2010 7:09 PM ***
Two men arrested for a triple homicide in Suwannee County are sitting in a Minnesota jail awaiting transport back to Florida.
A spokesperson from the Winona County Sheriff's Department in Minnesota says 38 year old James Howze and 47 year old Lonnie Munn have waived extradition and they're are now waiting on Suwannee County authorities to come pick them up.
SWAT team officers arrested the two men September 2nd for the shooting deaths of Joseph and Nancy Militello, and their nephew, Angelo Rosales, at their home in McAlpin in Suwannee County on August 26.

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Updated 9/3 6:34pm

Two men wanted for last week's triple murder in Suwannee County are finally behind bars.

Area residents say this give them some comfort.

The fugitives accused of fleeing this Suwannee County home after killing three people are caught.

Suwannee County resident Paula Shattler said, "A lot of people out here are not that protective because things don't happen out here. Lately, everybody that I know, until up to the point where they were caught, everybody was locking their doors again."

38-year-old James Howze and 47-year-old Lonnie Munn are charged with the triple murder at 12726 172nd Street in McAlpin.

Deputies say on August 26th, they found 53-year-old Joseph Militello, his wife 68-year-old Nancy, and their nephew 32-year-old Angelo Rosales shot dead execution style.

Less than 48 hours later, 25-year-old Keith Hughes was charged with robbery and conspiracy. But, Howze and Munn were arrested a week later.

Authorities say they caught them Thursday morning sleeping at a Campground in Minnesota.

Suwannee County resident Fay McKeehan said, "If I'd murdered people, I probably would high-tail it out of town. I'm glad they're caught. I don't know how much justice that's going to bring to the family."

More than a week later, Crime Scene Restoration workers were back at the home, and they say clean up was quite extensive. That's why residents say the men responsible for should be punished.

Suwannee County resident Robert Vaughn said, "They need to take them men and put them right in front of the courthouse and put a noose around their neck and it'll stop some of this stuff going on around here."

Investigators say robbery could have been the men's motive.

No word yet on when the men will be extradited from Minnesota.

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[UPDATE] (12:20PM) --

FDLE issued a press release pertaining to the capture of two suspects arrested in connection with the triple homicide in Suwannee county.

(Press Release) -- The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announce the arrest today, September 2 of two suspects wanted in a triple homicide that occurred Aug. 26 in Suwannee County, Fla. Lonnie Munn, 47, of Live Oak, Fla. and James Howze, 38, of O’Brien, Fla. were charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

FDLE special agents and SCSO investigators received information that the two suspects were in St. Charles, Minn. Authorities worked through the night with the U.S. Marshals to positively identify the suspects. After a positive identification was made, the U.S. Marshals arrested Munn and Howze at approximately 3:30 a.m. near a campground where they were staying.

Authorities allege that sometime during the night of the Aug. 25 or the early morning hours of Aug. 26, Munn and Howze shot and killed Joe Militello, 53, Nancy Militello, 68, and Angelo Rosales, 32, during an attempted robbery at their home located at 127-26 172nd street in McAlpin.

A third suspect Keith Hughes, 25, was previously arrested and is being held at the Suwannee County Jail charged with robbery and conspiracy.

Munn and Howze are currently being held in the Winona County (Minn.) Jail awaiting extradition.

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[UPDATE] (10:30AM) --

Winona, Minnesota (AP) --

Two fugitives wanted for killing three people in Florida have been arrested in a Minnesota state park.

Winona (win-OH'-nah) County Sheriff Dave Brand says the two men
offered no resistance when SWAT team officers moved in on them
about 1:40 a.m. Thursday, September 2 at Whitewater State Park. Brand says the two were asleep in a camper.

The sheriff says the men are wanted in the fatal shootings of
57-year-old Joseph Militello Jr., his 68-year-old wife, Nancy
Militello, and their 32-year-old nephew, Angelo Rosales, at their
Suwannee County home Aug. 26. Investigators believe robbery could
be the motive for the homicides.

Brand says the Suwannee County sheriff received information the
fugitives were in Winona County and deputies located the suspects'
vehicle in the park.

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Updated 9/1/10 1:08 p.m. by Art Myers
Funeral arrangements for the slain Suwannee County family have been set.
The viewing will be tomorrow (thur. 9/2) at the Daniels funeral home in Suwannee County at three in the afternoon. The funeral will be held Friday afternoon at 3:30 at the Chapel Hill Church in Dade City.
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Updated 8/31 at 8:15 by Candace Sweat

"These were some wonderful, wonderful people and I can't understand why somebody would want to hurt them," said family friend Marcia Riegel.

But somebody did want to hurt them. In fact, they wanted to kill them. 53 year old Joe Militello, 68-year-old Nancy Militello, and 32-year-old Angelo Rosales were found murdered inside their home at 127-26 172nd street in McAlpin - all shot execution style.

Now a friend of the family is offering 10,000 dollars to anyone who has information that will lead authorities to two men. 38 year old James Howze and 47 year old Lonnie Munn - both are wanted on three counts of first degree murder.

"I hope with this reward that somebody will come forward and let these two that are loose running around, let them get their justice," said Riegel.

25-year-old Keith Hughes is already behind bars in Suwannee County for his connection to the crime and is being charged with robbery and conspiracy.

Authorities from the Suwannee County sheriff's office say they believe the Militello's were specifically targeted and the killers knew exactly what they were going for.

"It was planned, I think the murders and the robberies were planned," said Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron.

Now authorities are faced with the task of tracking the suspects as a family grieves and tries to put the pieces back together.

Authorities say they believe Howze and Munn are hiding somewhere along the eastern seaboard and could possibly still be in our area.
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Updated at 8/30 at 6:30 by Candace Sweat

Three people are brutally murdered inside their home in McAlpin and now two suspects are on the run.

38 year old James Howze and 47 year old Lonnie Munn are now wanted for three counts of 1st degree murder.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office received a call about a triple homicide at 127-26 172nd street in McAlpin on Thursday morning.

When deputies arrived they found 53-year-old Joseph Militello, his wife 68-year-old Nancy Militello, and their nephew 32-year-old Angelo Rosales dead. Deputies say they were shot execution style.

Now 25-year-old Keith Hughes is being held at the Suwannee County Jail charged with robbery and conspiracy. But law enforcement and area residents say they won't rest until everyone is held accountable.

"I still carry my shotgun around with me and lock the doors. Its not as comfortable as it was," said McAlpin resident Ed Hill.

But many say they're glad they can at least put a face to the crime. Now inquiries are surfacing about a possible vehicle description as well. But when asked about the possibility, authorities say they just don't have solid information to release at this time.

Still, whether authorities confirm or not, people living in the area are happy to hear there are more details in the investigation.

"It makes me feel better that someone with some information has come forth that will result in some action," said Hill.

Authorities are working very hard to get this case solved and their asking anyone with information to call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at (386) 362-2222.
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Updated 8/27 at 6:30 by Candace Sweat

It's been less than 48 hours since the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office received a call about a triple homicide at this house at 127-26 172nd street in McAlpin. And already a man is behind bars.

25-year-old Keith Hughes is being held and charged with robbery and conspiracy.

But two men are still on the loose. Deputies have put out a national search effort for 38 year old James Howze and 47 year old Lonnie Munn. The two are wanted on warrants for first degree murder in this case.

"They believed that there was money there in the home and they went there specifically targeting the victims," said Sheriff Tony Cameron.

The Suwannee County sheriff's office says they received the call around 7:30 Thursday morning.

When deputies arrived they found 53-year-old Joseph Militello, 68-year-old Nancy Militello, and 32-year-old Angelo Rosales dead.

"You may see a lot of these things where there's gang involvement, to have execution style murders. And that's was these things were. Execution style," said Cameron.

The victims owned a small business that they ran out of their home, and Hughes was actually a previous employee of the family.

People in the neighborhood say they're relieved they can put faces to the crime, but say they would feel even better if the men were behind bars.

"It's definitely scary to know that its a possibility that they could still be around here," said resident Whitney Duvose.

Deputies say they believe the two may be hiding somewhere along the eastern sea board.

WCTV spoke with several people who knew the Militellos quite well. They say they were the kind of people who would give to anyone who needed it , so whatever these men went to their house to take, they probably could have gotten just by asking.

We'll bring you more information as it becomes available.
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Updated 8/27 2:37 --

Local deputies make an arrest in the murder of three Suwannee County residents, but they say they need your help finding two other suspects. The three victims were found shot to death inside a home in McAlpin, Florida.

A woman discovered the victims' bodies around 7:30 Thursday morning (8-26). Deputies say they were tied up and shot execution style. Now under arrest is 25 year old Keith Hughes. He's charged with robbery and conspiracy. Deputies are searching for 38 year old James Howze and 47 year old Lonnie Munn. The two are wanted on warrants for first degree murder in this case.

The Suwannee County sheriff's office says they arrived at 127-26 172nd street in McAlpin. When deputies arrived they found 53-year-old Joseph Militello, 68-year-old Nancy Militello, and 32-year-old Angelo Rosales shot to death. They say they believe they died between sundown and sunup Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The victims owned a small business that they ran out of there home. Hughes was actually a previous employee of the family. But deputies say they don't think Howze and Munn knew the victims prior to the murders.

Anyone with any information can call the Suwannee County sheriff's office at 386-362-2222.

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Updated 8/26 at 11:30pm by Candace Sweat

Three people are found shot to death inside a home in McAlpin and authorities are looking for answers. And people in the neighborhood are shocked that something like this could happen in their quiet part of town.

This house with the well manicured lawn at 12726 172nd street in McAlpin looks peaceful. But what happened inside was a nightmare.

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office said they received a call around 7:30 Thursday morning from an employee of the family who said he found three bodies.

Once inside the home, they found 53-year-old Joseph Militello, his wife 68-year-old Nancy Militello, and their nephew 32-year-old Angelo Rosales shot to death.

"This don't happen in McAlpin. This is hard to believe," said McAlpin resident, Jamie MacCourt.

Authorities say they believe the shootings happened between sundown and sunup on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

They say they believe robbery was the motive and do have some leads , though nobody is behind bars just yet. And that makes neighbors in the area a little uneasy.

"We hope that no one is randomly coming through committing these kind of acts. We just thought that things like this only happen in the big cities anymore, but here it is in our own backyard," said McAlpin resident, Ed Hill.

"I'll do anything to protect my home and my mom and my boys and my family period. I mean I feel sorry for anybody that comes around here and tries something like that," said MacCourt.

Folks in the area say they didn't know much about the Militellos, except that they ran a small business on their farm land and kept to themselves.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at 386-362-2222.

We are attempting to find out more information about the victims and will bring you details as they become available.

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*** Update 8:00PM 8-26-2010 ***

Suwanee County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the discovery of three bodies in Suwannee County. Deputies have told WCTV the three victims were all shot and that the motivation appears to be robbery. The SCSO released the names of the three victims : 53-year-old Joseph Militello, his 68-year-old wife Nancy Militello and their 32-year-old nephew Angelo Rosales.
Deputies say they responded to a call to 172 Street in McAlpin, Florida at around 7:30AM this morning, and they also tell WCTV they believe the shootings happened sometime between sundown August 25 and sunrise on August 26. The SCSO does not have any suspects in custody but they do have some leads they are working on. The case is still under investigation.
Anyone who may have information that can help in this investigation is encouraged to call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at 386-362-2222.

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McAlpin, Florida (Eyewitness News) -- August 26 11:05AM --

The Suwannee County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that three bodies have been found. The bodies were found in a home in McAlpin, Florida. The Sheriff's office confirmed that the three bodies were all adults, but they could not confirm how they died at this time. This was all the information the Sheriff's Office would release at the time.

WCTV will be keeping you updated as the situation develops.


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