Detectives arrest cousin in Palm Coast man's homicide

Victim found lying on driveway Tuesday morning

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

At left is Sheriff Staly and a deputy at the felony traffic stop earlier Tuesday. At right is Clarence Murphy Jr. in a booking photo from 2016.

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - Less than eight hours after a man was found shot in his Palm Coast driveway, Tuesday Flagler County detectives said they had arrested his cousin in the homicide case.

Deputies said Ahmad Rashad Laster Sr., 36, was found lying in the driveway at 156 Parkview Drive around 4 a.m. He was taken to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach where he later died.

A woman called 911 at 3:58 a.m. and said she was in her room when she heard a loud bang, and came outside to see a vehicle driving away and her friend lying in the driveway bleeding.

She said the victim was bleeding from the neck or head but she couldn't tell exactly where, because it was dark.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said detectives were quickly able to find Clarence Murphy, the victim's cousin, and make an arrest.

“Our deputies and detectives did a great job in solving this case in under eight hours and making sure no one else was hurt,” Staly said.

Staly said the victim purchased drugs from Murphy and used an EBT card as payment. When Murphy learned that the value on the card was not the same as the value of the drugs, he "became enraged," Staly said.

Murphy shot the victim in the head and left him for dead, the sheriff said. Murphy is charged with first-degree murder. More counts are pending.

Deputies caught up with Murphy in a traffic stop about 12:30 p.m. at Cypress Point and Belle Terre Parkway

Murphy has an extensive criminal history, according to the Sheriff's Office, including 19 felony charges, five felony convictions and three misdemeanor convictions. He’s been to state prison twice.

The 140 to 160 blocks of Parkview Drive were closed to traffic Tuesday morning while the crime scene was under investigation. School bus routes were also redirected. Buddy Taylor Middle and Lewis E. Wadsworth Elementary schools are around the corner from Parkview Drive.

Murphy will be booked at the Flagler County Detention Facility without the option to post bond.

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