Lloyd A. Neal, 22, the primary suspect in the 2006 murder of Hoeschele Thomas, was arrested after detectives revisited the cold case.
On Nov. 18 detectives gave the Thomas family closure when they issued an arrest warrant for Neal who is charged with second-degree murder.
Neal is currently serving a life sentence at Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry, FL on an unrelated 2007 Clearwater Police Department murder case.
Detectives Piece Together Clues to Identify Suspect
On Oct. 29, 2006 Thomas was fatally shot outside a residence, 12790 118th St N in Largo. According to detectives, Thomas was walking home when he was approached by some unknown suspects who tried to sell him drugs. When Thomas refused, they engaged in a verbal argument, officials said. A passenger from inside the vehicle fired at Thomas, fatally wounding him, officials said.
For five years detectives tried to piece together leads.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement assisted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation. They analyzed a single bullet casing from a 380-caliber firearm. Although investigators followed up with leads and anonymous tips they hit a dead end.
Until detective John Spoor of the sheriff's robbery and homicide unit reviewed the case again in June 2011.
Spoor drew a connection between the weapon used in Thomas’ shooting and a weapon used in a drive-by shooting in Clearwater three weeks later.
Clearwater police assisted Spoor in identifying Lloyd "Pooh" Neal at the crime scene and in Thomas’ murder.
Spoor said several sources help identify Neal:
- One source said during a conversation with Neal, he pointed towards a funeral flyer that contained Thomas' photo and said that "he did that."
- Another source said that in a conversation Neal admitted to Thomas' murder. There was also a source who witnessed Neal shoot Thomas.
Neal will be extradited to Pinellas County Jail from Taylor Correctional Institute in Perry, FL.