Man with 19 previous felony convictions adds another charge — this time its murder in Florida

hotel murder
Source: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Unsplash

Apr. 23 2021, Updated 10:03 a.m. ET

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A man who has dozens of previous felony arrests and four different prison sentences has added a new charge to his total. 

This time, the charge is murder after he is accused of killing an employee at a Florida hotel. 

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On April 20, the unnamed victim was found unconscious in a closet at the Rodeway Inn in Venice, Florida, with a towel shoved in her mouth. She died at the hospital later that evening, NBC 2 reported.

The victim’s husband was unable to contact her, so he showed up at the hotel to see if she was okay. When he got there, he found her battered and not breathing. Another hotel worker gave her CPR until deputies arrived, according to NBC 2.

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Crime scene personnel found blood on the bed and the towel that was stuffed in her mouth. She had bruising on her face and head, as well as defensive wounds on her hands, according to police documents.

Security footage shows Stephen Havrilka, 30, entering room 205 at 8:50 a.m. right after the victim went inside. He was seen leaving a few minutes later carrying a white towel and his shoes.

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Detectives do not believe Havrilka knew the victim before the encounter.

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Deputies say they received a call about a suspicious person at a nearby Regions Bank. He was wearing no shirt and jeans and later identified as Havrilka.

When police reached Havrilka, the arrest report said he was “acting erratic, speaking gibberish, and he started kneeling and praying on the ground.” Authorities believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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NBC 2 reported that it took five deputies to restrain Havrilka, who was placed into protective custody and taken to the hospital due to his high level of intoxication. Police could not talk to him at the hospital because of how combative he was, and he was sedated.

K-9 Deputy Biegel found Havrilka’s shoes, shirt and watch buried in a wooded area near the hotel, according to court documents.

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Police charged Havrilka with second-degree murder in connection to the death of the hotel employee.

According to NBC 2, Havrilka is a convicted felon. He has 34 prior felony charges and 19 felony convictions, as well as 16 previous misdemeanor charges and 10 misdemeanor convictions.

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He was arrested twice previously in Charlotte County, Florida, in 2013. One incident was for breaking into a home and stealing furniture, while the other was for beating up his then-girlfriend’s parents.

 Havrilka has served time in prison on four separate occasions, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. 

WTSP also reported that Havrilka has “possible white supremacy and neo-Nazi alliances.”

“This is one of the most egregious recent crimes we have seen in Sarasota County,” Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman told NBC 2. “My heart breaks for this woman’s husband and her family. By all accounts, she was doing her job when she was terrorized by this animal. I am committed to working with the State Attorney’s Office to see that this defendant is put away for life.”


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