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Lake County deputies make arrest in 2021 murder of man found shot, set on fire

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Lake County deputies say they’ve made an arrest in a homicide case that went unsolved for more than a year.

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On December 17, 2021, deputies responded to a 911 call from an area in Leesburg on Veech Road known locally as “The car wash.”  The caller said the victim, later identified as 38-year-old Mustafa Connelly, had been shot and set on fire.

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Deputies arrived to find Connelly’s lifeless body on the ground outside a car, still on fire. It was later determined Connelly had been shot multiple times in the back in an apparent ambush.

After interviewing witnesses and reviewing cell phone data, deputies say they identified 30-year-old Darian McGee as the person responsible for luring Connelly to the murder scene to commit a robbery. During the robbery, deputies say Connelly was shot at least twice in the back then set on fire to cover up the crime.

According to the sheriff’s office, McGee actually lured Connelly to the same spot the day before the murder but chose not to rob him at that time.

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In explaining their grounds for charging McGee, deputies referenced a 2021 arson case in which McGee was seen using an accelerant to light another person on fire, igniting his own legs in the process.

Deputies obtained a warrant for McGee Sunday charging him with second-degree murder. He’s being held in the Lake County Jail on $25,000 bond.

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