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‘They Were Only Playing a Prank’: 2 Men Accused of Murder After Florida Mother Found Shot to Death in Her Car

men accused murder florida mother shot in car
Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office; GoFundMe; Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Phillip Stapleton; Ashley Voss; Aurelio Diaz Jr.

Aug. 18 2023, Updated 1:07 p.m. ET

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A second man has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Florida mother who was found dead in her car in her driveway last month, according to authorities.

On July 20, deputies received a call from a person who didn’t speak to the dispatcher. Responding officers then found 22-year-old Ashley Voss dead from a gunshot wound in her car parked in the driveway of her home on Orange Street in Seffner, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

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On Aug. 14, Phillip Stapleton, 32, was arrested in Pasco County and charged with being principal to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the shooting death of Voss, who was the mother of his child, officials said.

Voss’ family told authorities that Stapleton had threatened her in reference to an ongoing child support issue.

An arrest affidavit of a man previously taken into custody in the case, 32-year-old Aurelio Diaz Jr., outlines alleged evidence that detectives gathered during the investigation, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Diaz was arrested on the same day Voss was found dead and charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, according to officials.

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Surveillance video from July 20 was reviewed by police, which showed two men walking on Orange Street. Stapleton confirmed with police that he and Diaz are the two men in the video, the affidavit states.

According to investigators, Stapletone said he and his friend “Jay,” later identified as Diaz, were in the Seffner area and later arrived on Voss’ street.

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Stapleton said he picked up Diaz and they went to Voss’ home, where Diaz was going to “defecate on the victim’s front porch,” authorities said. Stapleton pointed out Voss’ home and Diaz got out of the car.

Stapleton said he didn’t talk to Diaz about harming Voss and said “they were only playing a ‘prank,’” court records show.

Surveillance video shows Diaz hiding in the bushes on Orange Street, just north of Voss’ home. She then arrives home in her Nissan Altima and Diaz is seen getting out of the bushes, walking to her car and firing his gun once, hitting Voss, police said.

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Diaz then ran away and Stapleton told police that Diaz then called him to pick him up, about one minute after Diaz was seen shooting Voss, officials said.

As part of the investigation, Stapleton agreed to call Diaz, authorities said. During the phone call, Diaz said, “I did it just like I told you, walked up to the back window and boom.”

Diaz remains in Falkenburg Road Jail and is being held without bond, officials said.

In a GoFundMe, Voss, who had two sons who were 4 and 22 months old, was described as a “devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend whose vibrant spirit brought joy and happiness to everyone she touched.”

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