Murder suspect found driving Ocala victim's car, detectives say

Isiah Maeweathers, 23, accused of fatally beating, burning 63-year-old victim

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Isaiah Maeweathers, 23, is accused of killing Melvin Thompkins in December 2019.

MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A man accused of fatally beating a 63-year-old Ocala man in December has been charged with murder after detectives say the suspect was found driving the victim's car and DNA connected him to the crime.

Melvin Thompkins was found dead in a wooded area off Northwest 17 Street in Ocala on Dec. 29, according to the arrest report. Detectives said the victim had severe burns on much of his body and a piece of wood, later determined to be part of a table, was found laying next to his body.

The medical examiner determined that Thompkins died of blunt force trauma to the head. According to the arrest report, a pathologist said it was likely the victim was beaten before he was transported and burned.

Detectives said they learned Thompkins hadn't been seen since Dec. 22 but had not been reported missing. His vehicle was also missing, according to his housemates.

Isaiah Maeweathers, 23, was seen driving the victim's car after his death with a tag stolen from a church van, according to the report. When detectives spoke to Maeweathers, he said the vehicle belonged to his father and the clothes in the victim's car belonged to him. Detectives later determined Maeweathers also had the victim's cellphone in his possession.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives determined that Maeweathers was trespassed by Ocala police on Dec. 22 from the rooming house where the victim lived, after the owner of the property called police at the request of Thompkins.

Detectives also said they found a table on the property which matched the wooden leg found next to the victim's body.

Detectives were able to make an arrest after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab matched the victim to DNA samples taken from the trunk of the victim's stolen car and clothing found in the vehicle.

Maeweathers was arrested and charged Sept. 6 with second-degree murder. He was booked into the Marion County Jail and ordered held without bail.

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