LAKE WALES — A 16-year-old Polk County teen is in custody after he was accused of luring a 15-year-old boy into a wooded area and fatally beating him with a baseball bat Monday afternoon.
Dillen Murray was booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center late Monday night and charged with first-degree murder, possess of marijuana less than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Murray asked Giovanni Woods into the woods off Caloosa Boulevard around 2:45 so they could play, deputies said.
A witness told deputies Murray walked out of the woods with a baseball bat and said he had beaten Woods.
The witness found Woods’ body, deputies said.
"This child was brutally murdered by a 16-year-old with a baseball bat," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news release. "There is no reasonable excuse for this. Zero. None. It should never have happened."
Murray was to be booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center Monday night, deputies said. It is unclear whether he will be charged as an adult.
The investigation is ongoing.
Jail records show Murray was previously charged with two counts of battery against Woods in March 2016, and also one count of battery domestic violence against his father, Paul Murray, in March 2017.