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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
South Tampa News

Reward mounting in 2010 Tampa slaying

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Gail Hope was watching the 11 p.m. news on Oct. 24, 2010, when she found out her father had been murdered.

She had just helped him with some home insurance papers and recognized his address on the news report. When her dad didn’t answer his cellphone, she knew.

Almost four years after David Wynn Hope III was found dead in his East Tampa home, police still haven’t found his killer.

“It scares me that this person is still out running around,” Gail Hope said.

Thanks to a donation from a family friend, the reward for information related to a conviction in David Hope’s death is now up to $4,000.

“I just keep hoping that the right clue is going to come through,” Hope said.

David Hope, 71, was fatally shot in his home at 10614 Altman St.

Police know there was a lot of traffic in and out of the retired man’s house because he had been selling prescription medicine to supplement his income. He was arrested three times between 2000 and 2006 for possession, distribution and forged prescriptions.

“He was pretty much exposed to a whole different world of people dealing with the pills,” said Tampa detective Neal Smith, who is in charge of the case. “That’s what ultimately led to his death.”

But even if he hadn’t been selling pills, Gail Hope said, her father would always welcome anyone into his home. He wasn’t rude to anybody.

“He was a good man, a good father and a hard worker,” she said. “He didn’t always make the right decisions, but he was a good guy.”

She suspects her father was killed during a robbery; people knew he always carried money with him, she said.

Smith, who took over the case about a year ago, has submitted some new evidence that is being processed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But right now, he said, he doesn’t have a main suspect.

“We’re not ruling out any possibility or any motive at this point,” Smith said.

Gail Hope owns the Penny Saver Weekly News with her mother, Linda Hope, and has been writing stories and asking for information about the murder, hoping to keep the case fresh in readers’ minds. A man who saw one of her articles donated the additional reward money, she said.

It bothers David Hope’s three children that they don’t know what happened to their father, but equally worrisome is that his killer is still on the loose, Gail Hope said.

“If they did it once, they probably have done it again or they’re going to do it again,” she said.

Raising more reward money is a good way to help push the case along, Smith said. It hasn’t encouraged anyone to come forward with a new tip yet, but money helps get people talking, he said.

It’s sometimes a battle to get people to pay attention to a crime against someone who had a criminal past, Smith said.

“I just don’t want the perception to be that he was a bad person,” he said. “Because he wasn’t.”

ebehrman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7691

Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO

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