Three men and a woman were in police custody Wednesday, accused of luring a man to a wooded area in Hernando County, beating him to death with a baseball bat and running off with $20 and a gram and a half of meth.
The body of the victim, Preston Talley of Gainesville, was discovered early Sunday morning in the woods without any clothes and clear signs of head trauma.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis told reporters Wednesday afternoon that Talley thought he was chatting with Kayla Morrow on the website PlentyOfFish.com.
He was actually chatting with her and her three friends, Joshua Gardner, Andrew Abbott and Brandon Harrelson, according to officials.
Sheriff Nienhuis said Talley picked up Morrow to have sex and do drugs in the wooded area of east Hernando County, but when they pulled up, Morrow’s three friends were waiting.
“The minute he got out of his vehicle, one of the suspects began to hit him with a bat, beat him viciously in the head to the point where he was obviously deceased and they obviously took some time to clean up the crime scene and try to destroy some evidence,” he said.
All four suspects drove to Jackson County, Missouri Saturday night, but at some point decided to turn around, according to detectives.
They didn’t know the sheriff’s office was tracking their every move, and arranged for Alachua County deputies to stop them on their way through near Gainesville, Fla.
All four were charged with first degree murder.
“So they took a life for probably less than a hundred, two hundred dollars. And it was a pretty heinous act, and it was definitely calculated. There’s no doubt about it,” Nienhuis said.