Man convicted in 1973 murder-for-hire accused of using pocketknife to slash another man at Walmart

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County man who was sentenced to prison in connection with a murder-for-hire was arrested again after deputies said he slashed another man at a New Smryna Beach Walmart on Tuesday.


Deputies said Michael J. Brown, of Samsula, and another man got into an argument over a parking space outside the store on State Road 44.

Deputies said Brown followed the man into the store and during the argument, Brown pulled out a pocketknife and tried to slash the man’s neck, but he was able to block the knife with his hand.

Investigators said Brown then left the store but not before the victim was able to record a video of Brown’s motorcycle and license plate.

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New Smyrna Beach police along with a Volusia County deputy were able to track Brown to his home, where he was arrested.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Brown had served time in prison for the murder of a 77-year-old retired school teacher, Vivan Oyler, in 1973.

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Brown, who was 18 at the time of the murder, was sentenced to life in prison but became eligible for parole after serving 25 years and was released from prison in 2010.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said that given the suspect’s history, he cannot understand how Brown could have posted the $7,500 bond and be back on the streets.

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“He stabs a guy -- slashes a guy over a parking space,” Chitwood said. “If this guy is not an animal or a predator, I don’t know what is.”

After being contacted by Channel 9, Brown left a voicemail saying that he cannot discuss the case.

He said he would like to sit down and talk with Chitwood.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.