POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of beating his 90-year-old common-law wife to death denied having any part in the crime and said he didn't even know the woman, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
The investigation began around 5:50 a.m. Monday when someone reported a man, later identified as 85-year-old Jose Tavera, was standing in the middle of Marigold Avenue and Bell Tower Crossing.
Deputies said Tavera had blood on his shirt and his hands. He was unable to tell authorities where he lived and was not making sense.
When authorities went to Tavera's Kissimmee home, they said they went in through an open garage door and found 90-year-old Hilda Roman dead in the master bedroom.
Roman, who was lying on her back in a nightgown, had obvious signs of trauma to her head, face, arms and wrists, including bruises that were consistent with being beaten, according to the report. Deputies said a wooden table was on top of her.
When shown pictures of the crime scene, Tavera said he didn't know Roman, even though the two have lived together as a couple for 60 years, according to authorities. He said he didn't have a home or car and just walked the streets. He also said he was healthy and not under the influence of any medication.
Deputies said Tavera was unable to explain the blood on his fingernails, claiming that someone asked him to paint something for him.
Tavera eventually accused investigators of trying to blame the crime on him, so he told them, "I'm not a murderer," and stopped responding to questions, a news release said.
Tavera was arrested on a first-degree murder charge. He was taken to a local medical facility under the Baker Act.