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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Pasco Tribune

House fire, murder trial not linked, deputies say

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NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County authorities say they have no evidence linking the upcoming murder trial of James Barron with the deaths of two women in Hudson last week.

Jessica Renea Keith and her roommate, Amber Lynn Jordan, both 24, were the victims of “homicidal violence” on the morning of Feb. 3 inside their home at 14235 Pine St., deputies said.

The house was then set ablaze in an attempt to cover up the crime, according to investigators.

Keith, whose boyfriend Kamar Allen was murdered in 2011, was a potential witness in the trial of Barron, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

“Thus far, as far as we know, (the Hudson fire deaths) have nothing to do with that case,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Doll said. “We’re looking at all avenues.”

Barron is accused of being the shooter in the August 2011 murder of Allen, 24, who suffered a single gunshot to the head. Allen’s body was found in a field next to power lines between Anclote Boulevard and Blossom Lake Drive.

Barron, 23, told a witness he confronted Allen about robbing his mother, Michelle Miller, according to an arrest report.

Barron and his mother are in the custody of Pasco authorities.

Miller was arrested in October after she forwarded a letter from her son ordering the murder of a witness in a separate murder case against Barron, investigators said. Her son’s letter was sent to an inmate at a state prison where the witness also was being held, authorities said.

Barron sent the letter to his mother’s Holiday home on Oct. 2, 2013, ordering the killing of a witness in the Dec. 9, 2011, murder of Cedric Saunders, 18, deputies said.

Saunders was shot four times and his car keys were found inside Barron’s apartment after the murder, according to an arrest report.

Barron and the witness targeted for slaying are members of the Bloods gang, according to Pasco County Sheriff’s Office detective William Lindsey.

Miller told detectives she was given the witness’ name and searched the Department of Corrections’ website to determine in which Florida prison he was being held. She said she sent the letter to that facility, authorities said.

An inmate responded by letter that the plot would be carried out, but the target, whose identity was not released by investigators, had been placed in protective custody.

The letters were being monitored by authorities, investigators said.

Miller, 45, remains in the Land O’ Lakes Jail on a charge of soliciting to commit murder.

Although limited in what he could say about the murder case of Keith’s boyfriend Kamar Allen, assistant state attorney Chris Sprowls, who is the prosecutor in the case, confirmed Keith was a potential witness. Barron’s trial in that case is scheduled for May.

“At this point, there’s no evidence at all to suggest that these are linked,” Sprowls said.

The day after the women had been killed and the fire was set, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the crime was not random, calling the victims “high probability” targets.

“As for our citizens in the Hudson area, we want them to realize these were high-probability victims,” Nocco said during a press conference. “This house, we’ve had a tip that drug activity was going on there. … This was not a random act. I can’t reveal much information because this is an ongoing investigation, but I want to make that very clear, this was not a random act. We believe they were targeted.”

Authorities have not released information about a specific suspect, but the person was last seen leaving the home driving a dark colored car about 7 a.m. that day.

Both women had been arrested in the past.

Keith had been arrested six times between 2010 and 2012 in Pasco County. Three of those arrests were on drug possession charges. The drugs cited in the arrests were cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy and Xanax.

Jordan was arrested in April 2013 for possession of drug paraphernalia.

edaniels@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1860

Twitter: @EDanielsTBO

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