Police make arrest in Florida cold case 17 years after murder

Crime & Safety

(WFLA/NBC News) — Florida police have arrested a suspect in the 2001 murder of a New Port Richey man.

Police found Simon Clarke dead near a home construction site, beaten to death with a baseball bat.

He’d gone there to help a friend check on some financial irregularities.

Police back then focused on Randy Petersilge, but they didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest. That recently changed.

“I was lucky enough to locate some witnesses when I was assigned the case. They were a little more forthcoming than they were during the original investigation,” says Detective Joe Ioppolo.

Detective Loppolo got the cold case in 2016, dug through old files, and eventually got a grand jury to indict Petersilge.

He’s being transferred from the federal lockup to the Pasco County Jail.

“This is like a wound that kind of gets picked at every so often,” said Adam Clarke. He is one of the victim’s three sons. Adam Clarke was 11 at the time of the crime. He’s 28 now.

He lives in Miami and said his dad moved from England in 1995, started a real estate company and made a life in the states.

“We went to Tampa Bay Bucs games together. He loved to golf. These are the sort of memories that I have of someone that were only partially formed,” said Clarke.

He has gone years wondering if his dad’s killer would be caught. He’s optimistic a conclusion is at hand.

It’s been 17 years, but New Port Richey police are confident they’ve solved this case.

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