Man accused in teen's murder, dismemberment takes stand

Michael Bargo charged with murder in death of Seath Jackson

OCALA, Fla. - A man on trial in the murder and dismemberment of a teenager in Marion County took the stand Monday in his own defense twice.

Michael Bargo, 21, one of five people accused in the April 2011 shooting death of 15-year-old Seath Jackson, took the stand in a surprise move. 

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It was believed that closing arguments would begin Monday at 9 a.m., but the defense instead called Bargo to the stand.

"Somehow you are the misunderstood victim in this whole thing," he told the jury. "Somehow I got dragged in the middle of that."

Prosecutors say Jackson was lured to a Summerfield home and beaten before being shot and killed.  His body was then burned and the ashes were placed into paint cans and dumped in a pit, officials said.


Bargo said that he was not there when Jackson was killed in April 2011, instead, he says he arrived at the house and said the four other suspects were crying and cleaning up blood. He also said they had started a fire and were burning the teenager's body.

"I went out there and I see this fire.  I was kind of dumbfounded, theres trees all around and this fire is like 20 feet tall," Bargo said, adding that he was afraid for his life and didn't tell anyone he knew his friends had killed Jackson.

Prosecutors asked if Bargo could have left the house where Jackson was killed.

"And done what? Had him come after me and beat me up and drag me back and throw me on the fire, because he thinks I'm gonna go tell on him?" Bargo responded.

Two state witnesses testified that Bargo confessed to taking part in the Jackson's death.

Bargo could face the death penalty, if convicted.

Four others were convicted in the case and sentenced to life in prison. One of those convicted, Kyle Hooper, testified against Bargo that they made a plan. Hooper said they put Seath in the bathtub and Bargo shot him a couple more times.

Bargo then took the stand again, delaying closing arguments another day.

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