Tipsters lead detectives to murder, arrest; victim identified as Darius Hampton of Riverview

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. - Hernando County deputies and forensic crews worked Friday to exhume the body of a man they believe was killed in a drug deal gone wrong.

Crews were on scene near the intersection of Riverland Road and Boggey in the Withlacochee State Forest for most of the morning.

The victim is identified as Darius Octivan Hampton, 22, of Riverview.  Detectives say Daniel Brunette, 33, confessed to shooting him multiple times Wednesday night.

According to deputies, the two men were acquaintances.

"I told him not to get in that car," said Meriya James, Hampton's pregnant girlfriend.

According to James, her boyfriend offered to give Brunette, a neighbor at Big Tree Mobile Home Park off of Broad Street, a ride to the store around 7 p.m. Wednesday.  He was never seen again.

The shooting took place in Hampton's car, deputies say. The car was parked in a lot off State Road 50 near the overpass for the Withlacochee State trail.

Deputies impounded the car.

Tipsters called deputies with details of the crime and burial site Thursday.  Tipsters also led deputies to Brunette, the sheriff said

Brunette was found inside at residence at Talisman Estates and arrested.

Deputies say Brunette put "a great deal of effort" into the burial and likely dumped the body in the forest and returned later to bury it.

"Their was obviously some time taken in disposing of the body," said Sheriff Al Nienhuis.

Hampton's body was located 400 yards into the forest and was under several feet of dirt, deputies explained.

"Nobody deserves a two foot grave," James said.

Brunette is charged with second degree murder.

Neighbor Samantha McConky described Brunette as a "bad guy."

"I think he needs to like burn in hell for what he did.  It ain't fair," said McConky.  "You took away someone's father."

Hampton is survived by two children.

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