‘He didn’t reform:’ Volusia sheriff speaks after man on parole for murder arrested again in knife attack

Michael Brown, 67, was arrested Tuesday after a knife attack in a Walmart

New Smyrna Beach police say Michael Brown, 67, confronted a couple who were stopped in the parking lot of the Walmart on State Road 44, yelling that they couldn’t park there.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A Samsula man on parole for a previous murder was arrested Tuesday after knifing a person at a Walmart over a parking space dispute, police said.

New Smyrna Beach police said Michael Brown, 67, who was previously convicted and sentenced to life for the 1973 murder of Edgewater resident Vivian Oyler, said the incident unfolded when he confronted a couple who were stopped in the parking lot of the Walmart on State Road 44.

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Brown, whose been on parole since 2010, yelled at the couple that they couldn’t park in that spot and proceeded to park a few spots away from them, according to investigators.

A report shows Brown then followed the couple into the store and threatened to kill the victim, who told him to “do it,” before pulling out a pocket knife and swinging at the victim’s throat.

“His propensity toward violence hasn’t gone away. There’s a fine line between stabbing somebody and they survive and stabbing somebody and they die,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

The sheriff calls Brown’s murder of Oyler in 1973 gruesome.

“This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment (incident). He was hired to commit a murder. He bludgeoned her to death, he sexually violated her with a mallet and then there is some thought that she was even buried alive,” he said.

Brown was sentenced to life for the murder but became eligible for parole and was released in 2010.

“The rules now are a lot different than they were back in 1973. ‘Life is life’ now. It wasn’t ‘life is life’ back then—it was 25 years and then they can come up for parole,” he said.

For the last 12 years, Brown hadn’t reoffended until Tuesday. The sheriff said he believes it’s another case that proves bond schedules in the state need to be reviewed.

“He didn’t reform. He just didn’t get his buttons pushed in those 12 years. Clearly Tuesday he got his buttons pushed over a parking space,” he said.

Brown was taken into custody without incident and faces charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Court records show Brown will be back in court for an arraignment on the latest charges next week.


About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.