A man has been arrested in Hillsborough County on a charge of killing his boyfriend with a blunt object at their home in Deltona, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in a release.
Overnight, detectives with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit obtained a warrant charging Victor M. Mercado, 24, with second-degree murder.
Mercado was already in custody in the Hillsborough County Jail on a charge of grand theft auto when he was arrested on the murder charge, deputies said.
The victim, Vincent Patterson, 56, was discovered by his father Thursday afternoon at his home at 1479 Woffington Ave. in Deltona, according to deputies.
Patterson was found in his bed, unresponsive, and in an advancing stage of decomposition, deputies said.
Responding deputies observed visible trauma to Patterson’s head and blood spatter on walls of the bedroom. In addition, a note was found written on one of the bedroom walls.
The investigation revealed that two days earlier, in the early-morning hours Tuesday, Lake Mary police officers discovered Patterson’s vehicle crashed and abandoned on Interstate-4 in Seminole County.
Deputies from Volusia County conducted an attempt to contact Patterson at his house that same morning, but no one answered the door, deputies said.
Detectives investigating the homicide soon identified witnesses whose accounts helped piece together the timeline of events and help identify a possible person of interest in Patterson’s death.
It was learned that Mercado was Patterson’s boyfriend and had been living with Patterson at the house, deputies said.
On Tuesday, after Patterson’s vehicle was found crashed and abandoned, Mercado reached out to a friend for a ride, deputies said.
Mercado said he needed a ride because Patterson had allegedly kicked him out of the vehicle as they were traveling back to Deltona, according to deputies.
The friend didn’t help Mercado, who showed up at her residence later that morning driving an industrial-sized construction truck, deputies said.
Mercado then told his friend he needed help getting rid of the construction truck because he had stolen it that morning. The friend refused to help Mercado, and this sequence of events was confirmed by the friend’s mother, deputies said.
Detectives learned the work truck was stolen around 5 a.m. Tuesday from The Briar Team in Sanford, and reported stolen to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, according to deputies.
Around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mercado was arrested while driving the stolen truck in Hillsborough County.
With Mercado in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail, detectives from Volusia County went there to interview him.
During the interview, Mercado confessed to killing Patterson, who had just recently broken up with him, deputies said.
The murder happened in the early morning hours on Tuesday and began as Patterson slept, according to deputies.
Mercado also admitted to writing the note found on Patterson’s bedroom wall in an effort to cover up his actions, deputies said.
In addition to killing Patterson with a blunt object, trying to conceal his crime, and then stealing and crashing Patterson’s vehicle, Mercado also admitted to detectives that he stole the construction truck and then fled to Tampa, deputies said.
Mercado is being held without bond in Hillsborough County pending extradition back to Volusia County. Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to investigate and execute search warrants this weekend, and no other records are available for release at this point.