The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said a man was stabbed to death by his former roommates over a stolen PlayStation.
Deputies said they were called to a home on South Boulevard near Maitland just before midnight Monday, where they found the victim, identified as 24-year-old Joshua Barnes, suffering from fatal stab wounds.
According to deputies, Jake Bilotta, 22, and Ian McClurg, 21, believed Barnes, their recently evicted former roommate, returned to the home to steal a PlayStation console. The suspects lured him to the home by telling him they were having a party and stabbed him to death, deputies said.
McClurg told investigators that Bilotta received a screenshot of a text message between Barnes and an unknown person in which Barnes admitted to stealing the PlayStation and other items from the home, deputies said.
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Deputies said while Bilotta stabbed the man, McClurg was positioned to keep him from leaving.
As the two were about to wrap the victim in plastic bags to dispose of the body, deputies said the pair's new roommate returned with a Tinder date and discovered what happened. That roommate fled and called 911, deputies said.
Bilotta and McClurg were arrested on charges of premeditated murder and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility, deputies said.
The men faced a judge Wednesday and were denied bond.
Two other residents of the home were not charged.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma said this case reminds him of the infamous Deltona XBox murders from 2004.
“Right before I walked out here we were making the direct correlation to the Deltona case over these gaming systems and things that have little value, no association with the value of human life whatsoever,” Lemma said. “It is just absolutely bizarre.”
The Rev. Derrick McRae told Channel 9 on Wednesday that Barnes was a member of his church.
He said Barnes was the oldest of five siblings and had a 4-year-old son.
"She was screaming, 'My son. My son. They killed my son,'" McRae said of a conversation he had by phone with Barnes' mother. "(I) definitely want to see justice done. It's painful to the family. There's no need for retaliation."
McRae said he last spoke with Barnes at the Experience Christian Center on Sunday. He said Barnes encouraged his whole family to arrive at church early.
"I said, '(As a) matter of fact, I want to see you standing up in church so I can know it's you.' And he said, '(I'm going to) do that. (I'm going to) do that,'" McRae said. "Needless to say, we didn't know 24 hours later -- or less than 24 hours later -- he wouldn't be with us anymore."
He said Barnes' son is now staying with his grandparents.
Cox Media Group