NewsPolk County


19-year-old Polk County man charged with second-degree murder over mother's death

Seth Settle.jpg
Posted at 10:23 AM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 14:13:14-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office said a 19-year-old from Lake Wales is facing a second-degree murder charge after he shot and killed his mom on Thursday morning.

"This is truly the wonderful family next door," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "And he kills his mom."

The sheriff's office said Seth Settle shot his 52-year-old mom after she told him to stop smoking in the house. Judd said the victim returned home after dropping her 14-year-old daughter off at school when she smelled the smoke. She opened Settle's bedroom door, told him to stop smoking and closed it. Judd said Settle shot through the door.

After the shooting, Judd said Settle's 24-year-old brother heard him screaming something but couldn't understand him because he was in the bathroom. When he got out of the bathroom, Judd said Settle was gone and the older brother found the victim unresponsive and didn't know what happened.

According to Judd, the medical examiner later determined the bullet went directly through her heart which caused it to immediately stop pumping so there was no blood.

The brother called 911 and the victim was taken to the hospital around 9:41 a.m. She died less than an hour later around 10:26 a.m.

Judd said later that morning, the hospital called the sheriff's office because of the "suspiciousness" of the victim's injuries. Deputies responded to the hospital and the home where the shooting took place, near Red Oak Court and Capps Road, at the same time.

Judd said Settle was later arrested and confessed.

According to Judd, Settle claimed he was depressed and when his mom opened the door to tell him to stop smoking, he had a gun to his head. He claimed it accidentally discharged, Judd said.

"We don't believe that because by all accounts — all accounts — even his admission that mom was an absolutely, totally wonderful person and the best mom you could ever have," Judd said.

Judd said authorities are, "absolutely confident with the type of mom that this is there's no way she would have closed that door with her son holding a gun to his head."

Judd said authorities found no criminal history related to anyone in the family.

Judd said after the shooting, Settle went to a friend's house and told the friend, "I accidentally shot mom."

"Fled passed her. Didn't help, didn't dial 911," Judd said. "Hollered something at the brother on the way out of the door."

After the arrest, the sheriff's office said Settle lied to detectives about where the gun was five separate times. A friend later called and reported to authorities that Settle gave him two guns, which detectives recovered.

Judd said no one in the family knew Settle had the weapons and added that Settle isn't old enough to buy them but they also weren't reported stolen. Settle claimed he "bought them off of the street," Judd said.

"I can't begin to tell you the horror of this event," Judd said. "The only people that are more shocked and stunned by this than us in law enforcement are the immediate family."

Settle is charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence, discharging a firearm in a residential area and five counts of giving false information during an investigation.