OCALA, Fla. — Two men accused of taking part in a fatal stabbing on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa have been arrested in Central Florida.
Officers from the USF Police Department responded to reports of a dead person in a parking lot near the Fine Arts Building early Saturday morning.
They arrived to find a man identified as 61-year-old Winton Cutchins of Tampa dead with obvious signs of trauma to his upper body.
Just four hours later, at approximately noon, 20-year-old David Tyler Bartles and 35-year-old Thomas Allen Phanphilathip were taken into custody in connection with Cutchins’ death.
According to investigators, Bartles and Phanphilathip arrived at Cuthins’ home early Saturday morning and asked for a ride to a bus depot.
Police say Cutchins agreed and drove them to a parking lot on the USF campus at around 6:30 a.m. That’s when investigators say they believe Bartles and Phanphilathip began their “targeted” attack on Cutchins with a knife.
Police say the two suspects removed Cutchins from his pickup truck and drove off with it, leaving him in the parking lot.
USF police transmitted a description of Cutchins’ older model Chevrolet pickup truck to nearby law enforcement agencies, believing the murder suspects were still in possession of it.
Officers with the Ocala Police Department made contact with the two suspects around noon Saturday at a local gas station after they were reported as “looking suspicious.”
The Ocala police officers were eventually alerted by USF police that Bartles and Phanphilathip were suspects in a murder and took them into custody.
The suspects were still in possession of Cutchins’ truck, as investigators presumed.
Both Bartles and Phanphilathip are being held in the Marion County jail awaiting extradition back to Tampa on charges of first-degree murder and theft of a motor vehicle by force.
According to USF police, neither Bartles, Phanphilathip, nor Cutchins are affiliated with the university in any way and there was never a safety risk to the overall USF community.
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