A fugitive from a Largo work release program is facing charges in the grisly deaths of two men in the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg Police arrested 36-year-old Michael Norris for the double homicide of Bruce Johnson, 51, and Arthur Regula, 36.
Johnson and Regula were found dead inside a burning home in the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Sunday. Investigators say they died as a result of "homicidal violence."
Norris was arrested by police on Oct. 2 and charged with two counts of first degree murder, escape, armed burglary and felon in possession of a firearm.
Police said detectives interviewed Norris regarding the double homicide after finding evidence at the scene linking him to the crime. Police said Norris was cooperative, but failed to make any admissions regarding the homicide case.
He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail with no bond.
According to investigators, Norris committed the burglary at 2635 4th Ave. N and then shot and killed both victims inside of the residence during the burglary. Norris then stole items from inside of the residence, set the house on fire and left in a Ford F-150 truck that belonged to one of the victims, according to the police report.
Investigators do not know why Norris targeted that house in the Kenwood Neighborhood or why the victims were killed during the burglary, according to police. Police said they do not know if Norris was acquainted with the victims in the homicide.
The day after the murders, the abandoned the Ford F-150 was found set on fire near the intersection of Columbus and MacDill in Tampa.
According to St. Petersburg Police, Norris had been a prisoner of the Florida Department of Corrections since Feb. 10, 2004.
FDOC records, according to police, said Norris was serving a lengthy prison sentence for multiple felonies, most of them armed burglary that occurred in Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties from 2001 to 2003.
Most recently, Norris was assigned to the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center where he participated in a work release program. According to police, he left this location on Sunday morning Sept. 30 to go to work, but never returned, prompting the Center listed him as an escapee.
A few hours after departing the Largo Residential Re-Entry Center, St. Petersburg Police investigators believe Norris committed a burglary to a motel room at the Driftwood Motel, 1600 34th St. S. During the burglary, police said Norris stole a Glock semi-automatic handgun.
According to St. Pete Police, several witnesses saw Norris leave the motel and positively identified him later.
Police said the double homicide at 2635 4th Ave. N occurred a few hours after the burglary at the Driftwood Motel.
According to police, investigators located stolen property from 2635 4th Avenue North inside of the cab of the truck after it was set on fire. The Glock semi-automatic handgun that Norris stole during the burglary to the
Driftwood Inn Motel room - and which St. Pete Police homicide investigators believe was used in the double homicide, has been recovered.