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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Holiday man accused of drug deal homicide

HOLIDAY - A 21-year-old Holiday man faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with a shooting death that happened two weeks ago during a drug deal, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported. James Fitzgerald Barron of 1037 Solar Drive was in Land O' Lakes Jail on other charges when the murder charge was added Thursday. He is being held without bail. Barron is accused of gunning down Cedric Saunders, 18, of 1019 Darmouth Drive, Holiday, in the early morning hours of Dec. 9 at Merrilon and Wellington drives in the Holiday Lake Estates subdivision.
Neighbors reported hearing gunshots between 2:30 and 3 a.m., and a woman later told investigators she was talking to Saunders by telephone just before 3 a.m. when she heard what sounded like a struggle and the phone disconnected. Saunders' body was found about 9:45 a.m. Dec. 9 in the driver's seat of a 2001 Kia Rio after a sheriff's deputy was called to investigate what appeared to be an abandoned vehicle An arrest report says Barron later told a man that he had met with Saunders to buy cocaine but instead shot him four times with a handgun and stole 2 ounces of the drug. That man, Ronald Smith, said Barron claimed he returned to the shooting scene two hours later and took Saunders' keys so he could get into his home, the report says. Smith later recorded a telephone conversation with Barron in which Barron admitted to the shooting, the report says, although after his arrest Barron would deny he even saw Saunders the night of the teenager's death. The sheriff's office executed a search warrant Dec. 15 at an apartment where Barron was living, a location different from his permanent address. During that search a detective arrested Barron on several drug charges, including possession of cocaine and trafficking in cocaine. One item the detective found while searching the apartment was a key chain with about 10 keys, several of which had what appeared to be blood on them, the report says. One of those keys was the ignition key for the Kia in which Saunders' body was found, the report says.

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