Tampa man arrested for West Virginia murders from 40 years ago

YBOR CITY, Fla. - They thought they knew him.

Friends say 59-year old Eddie Washington is a hardworking, trustworthy guy who worked two jobs as a Tampa janitor and a garbage man.

"I'm hurt. I just don't want to believe that Mr. Ed would do something like that," said Romero Watson.

"I hope that this is not true and I hope they have the wrong guy. I hope that all of this is just a dream," said co-worker Erica Donaldson.

"I gave him a key so that he could come in after hours to clean-up because he had another job. He worked for waste management during the day," said co-worker Danice Donaldson.

"He was faithful. In whatever he did, he was very faithful," said Watson who attended church with Washington.

Washington seemed to live a quiet, decent life renting a room in an Ybor City Apartment. He did odd jobs for free for his friends and church until prosecutors hundreds of miles away say his past finally caught up to him.

"In 1974, there were three people who were found in a park area in Marion County deceased and that was the start of a triple homicide investigation that was pretty extensive," Patrick Wilson, a West Virginia prosecutor, told us by phone.

West Virginia Police got a warrant and came to Tampa. With the help of the U.S. Marshal's Office, they arrested Eddie Washington on his way to pick up a few things at a convenience store for a cold case they thought they might never solve.

Washington was booked into the Orient Road Jail for shooting three victims in the back of the head nearly 40 years ago. The triple homicide still draws discussion in the West Virginia coal mining town of Fairmont.

Friends and church members say they knew Eddie Washington.  It'll break their heart if it turns out they didn't.

"If he did 40 years ago, he's not that same guy today. He's not. He's a better person," said Watson.

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