Palm Bay police announce arrest in ‘brutal murder’ of 69-year-old man

Justin Giambanco, 31, faces felony charges

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County man arrested Saturday, accused in the killing of a 69-year-old Palm Bay man found dead two days prior, was already in jail on unrelated charges when Palm Bay police charged him with second-degree murder, according to Chief Mario Augello.

Around 7 p.m. Thursday, Palm Bay officers responded to a residence in the 2700 block of Palm Drive Northeast in reference to a 911 call about a man found dead. According to an arrest affidavit, the man was found with a cut on his neck in a bedroom. There was a knife near his body, police said.

Based on evidence at the scene, Justin Giambanco, 31, was immediately identified as a suspect, Augello said. Giambanco’s cell phone was found under the victim’s body, according to the affidavit.

“This 31-year-old suspect is pure evil. He is a violent repeat offender that, while out on bond for previous arrest, preyed on the citizens of Brevard County. The suspect in this case is just another example of how our current criminal justice system is failing to keep our community safe,” Augello said. “...To be exact, he has 22 felony charges along with 24 misdemeanor charges, yet somehow, this individual is out roaming free within our community, terrorizing our citizens.”

Giambanco was arrested Thursday in connection with a burglary, according to police, and a search of his car revealed prescription bottles with the victim’s name on it and a passport belonging to the victim’s mother.

The affidavit said sneakers were also found in the vehicle with what is believed to be blood. The pattern on the bottom of the sneakers matched a footprint pattern in the bedroom where the victim was found, according to police.

Augello went over some specifics of Giambanco’s criminal history at a news conference, including a 53-month sentence imposed on him in April 2021 for violating the conditions of his release after spending two years behind bars. Of that 53-month sentence, Giambanco served only 18, Augello said.

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“Six days ago, and less than six months from his last release from incarceration, the suspect was again arrested, this time for battering a police officer and trespassing. He was released the next day on April 16. Since his most recent release, this individual has been a suspect of several burglaries within our county. And his most heinous act yet? The brutal murder of a 69-year-old Palm Bay resident just a few short days ago,” Augello said. “We are seeing far too many violent repeat offenders being released way too early for either shortened sentences, or because of minimal bottom-outs. This murder could have been prevented had Giambanco served his full 53-month sentence back in April of 2021.”

The victim’s son told News 6 on Monday that his father was private, so he doesn’t think he knew Giambanco.

News 6 asked police whether the two knew each other, though police didn’t provide confirmation as of Monday afternoon.

Under Marsy’s Law, which protects the identities of crime victims, family members are asking to not name the victim in this case. However, the victim’s son said that his father was an Air Force veteran and enjoyed playing guitar.

Giambanco faces charges of second-degree murder with a firearm, false imprisonment, grand theft of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, court records show.

His first appearance was scheduled for 9 a.m., but he did not make it there because he was “behaviorally unavailable,” as it was explained to the judge.

Watch the news conference in the media player below.

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News 6 is no longer naming the victim in this case because the victim's family invoked Marsy's Law. Police initially named him in an arrest affidavit.

About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.