Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/12/2006 3:27:11 AM EDT
Largo Man Charged in Forest Double Slayings

Its too early to tell if a concealed weapon could have saved the couple involved, but one must keep up their guard at all times - criminals don't obey laws against guns in state parks/national forests. Isolated areas are no place to be defenseless.

The right to self-defense doesn't stop at the edge of park/forest boundaries - for FL residents, this story would provide an effective exclamation point if you choose to contact your state legislators...

What a waste. Just terrible.


OCALA NATIONAL FOREST - A three-day manhunt in the forest and across Florida for the killer of two college students ended Tuesday with the arrest of a Largo man.

Detectives with the Marion County Sheriff's Office said Leo Lancing Boatman, 19, was not a camper or hiker, but simply concocted a plan to kill someone in the forest.

He reportedly purchased camping equipment at a Silver Springs store on Jan. 3 and headed into the woods, the same day Amber Marie Peck and John Parker, two 26-year-old Sante Fe Community College students, arrived for an overnight camping trip.

Detectives said they believed the students were killed the next day around noon, a time witnesses said they heard gunshots in the area where the bodies were later discovered. They were shot multiple times at the edge of Hidden Pond.

Boatman was being held in the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday on a grand theft charge of stealing the murder weapon, an AK-47, from the friend of an uncle. Ballistics tied the weapon to the murders. Warrants on two counts of first-degree murder were issued in Marion County late Tuesday night, and deputies were on their way to the Pinellas County Jail to pick up Boatman.

The arrest comes after a massive investigation by 60 law enforcement officials working from several law enforcement agencies, including Federal Bureau of Investigation officials who worked in the manhunt for convicted Atlanta Olympics and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph and on destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

“We promised the families we would be dedicated to this task and bring in the killer of these victims,” said Sheriff Ed Dean at a 7:30 p.m. news conference, where the arrest was announced.

Peck hadn't been heard from by family members since she told her brother on Tuesday she was going with Parker on her first overnight camping trip in the Hidden Pond area that night. Family members conducted a search for her and made the gruesome discovery of the bodies early Saturday morning at the edge of Hidden Pond, just off The Florida Trail.

Boatman

Law enforcement officials put out the word through the media on Saturday that they were looking for a suspect. They tracked Boatman down through tips from a 20-year-old driving on State Road 40 on Jan. 4 - that following Wednesday. Joey Tierney, who was visiting family in Lake County, told officials Saturday he had picked up a man on the side of State Road 40 at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, about two miles from where Parker and Peck were found dead.

Tierney told officials he discovered afterward the man had a knife and a rifle. He took the man to a Shell gas station on State Road 40 and then to a motel. Detectives obtained surveillance footage of the man from the store and the copy of his driver's license identification he had to give to the motel. Boatman was tracked to Largo by investigators who picked him up early Tuesday morning for questioning.

Detectives said Boatman has not confessed to the murders and they did not give a definite motive Tuesday night in the case. But they said Parker's wallet was found at the bottom of a shallow area of the pond with no money in it. And Boatman had told a friend that he had killed someone and robbed them.

Authorities said he was upset with one of his family members, but statements he reportedly made showed an even deeper rage.
“I went to the woods and killed someone,” Boatman told a friend in secrecy, according to the arrest affidavit.

“I wouldn't kill a bum because they would have nothing to lose. . . . I went out there and came across two preppie kids and killed them.”

He also told friends he had tried unsuccessfully to sink the bodies.

Detectives said Boatman stole the unloaded weapon from a friend of his uncle and left Clearwater on Jan. 2 on a Greyhound bus and arrived just after midnight Tuesday in Ocala. He picked up some camping gear at a Wal-Mart in Silver Springs and went into the forest.

Law enforcement officials discuss Tuesday the area in the Ocala National Forest where the bodies of Amber Peck and Parker were found. Authorities say Boatman killed the two on Jan. 4. JANNET WALSH/STAR-BANNER

Peck's family found her red 2000 GMC Jimmy at Forest roads 65 and 76, two long dirt and knobby roads that cut through miles of thick forest and rough terrain.

Tierney said he was driving to Gainesville on Wednesday to pick up a friend when he saw Boatman on the side of the road and look liked he needed a ride. Tierney said he initially drove past Boatman but turned back around and picked him up.

“I just felt sorry for him,” Boatman said at the press conference.

Tierney said Boatman was well-dressed and he was not afraid of the hitchhiker. But he added that he told Boatman not to try anything.
That's when Boatman admitted to Tierney he had a knife in his pocket and a gun in a bag, that resembled a blue lounge chair bag.

Standing in front of the dozens of law enforcement officials and media, Tierney smiled as he showed a set of removable, custom-fitted gold teeth “grills” in his mouth, as he talked about sitting in the car with a killer.

“I was an idiot,” said Tierney to laughter, referring to picking up a deadly hitchhiker.

He can laugh now, but when he heard the news about the slayings, “The hair stood up on my arms,” he said.

Tierney took him to the Shell station at County Road 314 and State Road 40 and then to a Holiday Inn. But Boatman found the motel too expensive, detectives said, and he checked in at the Silver River Inn in Silver Springs. He later caught a Greyhound bus to Clearwater and returned the gun to his uncle's friend, Lucas Merryfield, but this time it was loaded. Thinking detectives might be on his trail, he later purchased a pellet gun and showed it to detectives when they knocked on his door for questioning, trying to push off the rifle as the one he had during the ride with Tierney.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Westcott said Tuesday afternoon the forensics team sifted through the Hidden Pond area of the Ocala National Forest and beyond to look for clues to help solve the case. Westcott said the team had members from as far away as Atlanta and includes two experts in surveying and mapping large rural and rugged terrain areas such as the Ocala National Forest. He did not go into the specifics of the investigation or what they searched for.

“We're looking for evidence of any kind,” Westcott said.

Sheriff Dean said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were called in to assist, considering the Sheriff's Office needed assistance for investigative work that would take place outside the jurisdictions of Marion County.

The 10-man FBI unit was just a part of the more than 60-member team comprised of various types of law enforcement officials assigned to the case. Crews from the Alachua County Sheriff's Office as well as Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Wildlife Commission also are taking part.

Standing with two leaders of his investigative unit, Sheriff Dean told his senior officials and members of the Sheriff's Office advisory committee at a meeting Tuesday that he felt sure the case would be solved with the massive manpower they have.

“If I were a murder victim, these were the two who I would want on the case,” said the sheriff, pointing to Maj. Chris Blair and Capt. Thomas Bibb.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office has also created a command center in their Ocala building conference room to field tips and leads.

The command center is set deep into the building of the Sheriff's Office.

They also hoped that a $5,000 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of a suspect, lead to more sufficient tips, which Tierney will receive. One time Tuesday, about six officials were sitting at long tables in the conference room, a room filled with lap top computers and phone lines as well as statistics and other charted information and pictures hanging on the walls.

By late Tuesday afternoon, the command center had received about 80 calls on the case, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sue Livoti.

The tips came into the office and were prioritized and then immediately assigned to detectives to check out.

“We don't let them sit a couple minutes,” said Sheriff Dean on the leads.

Livoti said if during the investigation the leads proved substantial, more effort and focus was immediately placed on it.

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 4:44:36 AM EDT
The insanity of camping unarmed (regardless of local, state and federal laws) has been discussed in the Survival Forum in great detail.
It's sad that something so innocent as camping can turn you into a victim.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:16:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The insanity of camping unarmed (regardless of local, state and federal laws) has been discussed in the Survival Forum in great detail.
It's sad that something so innocent as camping can turn you into a victim.



Come on you guys gotta get real though. Those poor people won what i call "the Anti-lottery"! Something that has only a billion to 1 chance of happening but when it does you dont win money you lose your life. But still you have a much worse chance of being murdered elsewhere. And even carrying a gun would'nt mitigate the circumstances, as this asshole probably just shot them in the back. Carry a gun in the wilderness for other creatures and not for some psycho asshole.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:24:00 AM EDT
It is unfortunate. I've been to the Ocala Nat'l Forest many times and am a firm believer in being armed and vigilant.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:27:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By t-stox:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The insanity of camping unarmed (regardless of local, state and federal laws) has been discussed in the Survival Forum in great detail.
It's sad that something so innocent as camping can turn you into a victim.



Come on you guys gotta get real though. Those poor people won what i call "the Anti-lottery"! Something that has only a billion to 1 chance of happening but when it does you dont win money you lose your life. But still you have a much worse chance of being murdered elsewhere. And even carrying a gun would'nt mitigate the circumstances, as this asshole probably just shot them in the back. Carry a gun in the wilderness for other creatures and not for some psycho asshole.



Go back and do a search.

MANY people have been murdered while camping.

Remember the lady and two girls who went missing a few years ago? There was even a very good news story about two guys who killed their attackers, who had every intention of murdering them.
And many members have posted experiences where they've come upon meth labs or have been stalked while camping.

Keep shleeping.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:34:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 5:58:19 AM EDT by twonami]
assaults and muggings are very common at national parks and campsites due to the stupid no gun laws. Fuck the laws.
eta: I should have added that the murders get the press but the assaults and muggings get hushed up.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:36:09 AM EDT
He looks fairly normal to me...it just goes to show that not all psychos look that way.

Perp Pic

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:36:42 AM EDT
I believe I read somewhere that the male victim actually told a friend that he couldn't take a gun into the forest and would have to defende himself with a hatchet. I gave my son a pistol when he went camping alone in the forest, and I'd carry one myself. Better tried by twelve. . . .
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:37:16 AM EDT
It was either here or at thefiringline.com that I read the Nat'l Parks have extremely high crime rates while Nat'l Forests which allow concealed carry have much lower crime rates. Either way why would you not have the means to protect yourself? Yeah, a pistol vs a rifle is a shitty proposition, but it's better than throwing rocks.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:38:19 AM EDT
Not to mention that your,
a) in a remote location without witnesses
b) in a remote location where the discovery of your body will go undiscovered for years, perhaps
c) in a remote location where your cell phone won't work and there's no cops to respond even if it did.

Did you see the common thread here?
in a remote location
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:41:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:
asaults and muggings are very common at national parks and campsites due to the stupid no gun laws. Fuck the laws.



and rapes and murders....when I first moved to Arizona in the very early Eighties there was some FREAK ( and I mean FREAK....this guy looked like the devil ) who was running around raping and murdering women ( and their respective beaus ) in our State and National Park system.....it was then and there that I decided the following:

"I pack heat...regardless."
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 5:54:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By t-stox:And even carrying a gun would'nt mitigate the circumstances, as this asshole probably just shot them in the back. Carry a gun in the wilderness for other creatures and not for some psycho asshole.


The information that the local police have released is that he came upon them while they were packing up their campsite in the morning and shot between 5 and 7 times. One of the victims may have tried to run and was shot in the back. Don't know the states everywhere but I have read that you are 8 times more likely to be attacked by another human than any animal on the Appalachian Trail.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:10:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:13:58 AM EDT by LANCEMAN]
We used to hunt and camp quite a bit in the Apalachicola National Forest in N. FL. Worst thing I was ever worried about was walking up on someone's pot patch and tripping a booby trap. Of course when hunting is in it is OK to possess firearms so I always had one. It is currently hunting season in the Ocala but I'm not sure if one has to be actively engaged in the act of hunting, just have a hunting license or it just has to be hunting season. Firearms are prohibited during other times and it is a 2nd degree misdemeanor (up to 60 days in jail and/or $500). CWL makes no difference.

Just have to make the choice that your safety is more important than a minor law.



790.11 Carrying firearms in national forests prohibited.--Except during the hunting season as established by law, no person shall carry, on or about his or her person, or in any vehicle in which such person may be riding, or on any animal which such person may be using, within the limits of a national forest area within the state, any gun or firearm of any description whatever, without first having obtained a permit as hereinafter prescribed except on state roads when securely locked within a vehicle.



ETA: The permit they mention can be obtained from the county commission presiding over the area of the forest one wishes to carry in. OF course some of our forests here are very large and cover a bunch of different counties so that isn't very practical. NEver heard of anybody trying to get one.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:16:55 AM EDT
I can find other places to go, I won't walk around unarmed. My father in law stopped hiking because the parks in his area went gun free and he didn't want the hassle of getting ticketted or arrested.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:21:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
I believe I read somewhere that the male victim actually told a friend that he couldn't take a gun into the forest and would have to defende himself with a hatchet. I gave my son a pistol when he went camping alone in the forest, and I'd carry one myself. Better tried by twelve. . . .



Amen. I don't get out of my vehicle in the national forest without a gun on me. The law be damned, in this case.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:29:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted by FLA1A:
I believe I read somewhere that the male victim actually told a friend that he couldn't take a gun into the forest and would have to defende himself with a hatchet. I gave my son a pistol when he went camping alone in the forest, and I'd carry one myself. Better tried by twelve. . . .



Many people, though, are conditioned to obey the law - even at the expense of safety - because the good guys are by nature law abiding. Laws influence people's decision making process (they're supposed to) - but unfortunately this guy decided wrong.

It's stupid that the law applies even to concealed weapon license holders. Do the national forests in FL come under state jurisdiction re firearms laws or fed? If state, then I would think with the Repub majority it would be a shoe-in to change.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:31:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RichardM308:

It's stupid that the law applies even to concealed weapon license holders. Do the national forests in FL come under state jurisdiction re firearms laws or fed? If state, then I would think with the Repub majority it would be a shoe-in to change.



National forests in other states allow firearms at all times so that would make one think that it is only the state law that prohibits it. Could be wrong though.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:36:02 AM EDT
He should be taken back to the lake, tied to a tree and shot with the AK he used on the victims...

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:43:28 AM EDT
The victims had to be airlifted out because the area was so remote. Additionally, there are lots of psycho's in the Ocala Nat'l Forest. From the annual migration of the Rainbow People to the madman who stalks and attacks hikers (has yet to be caught IIRC). Add to the list several sightings of the Skunk Ape that have been reported.

Living near Ocala, it is commonly known that many, many people go camping there to drop acid in relative safety, do shrooms, smoke weed ect. On any given weekend, there are hundreds of easy targets camping unarmed in the forest. Easy picking for a crafty thief. There are so many logging roads, state roads and other means of quick escape from the forest, no wonder there is so much crime there.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:51:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 6:51:33 AM EDT by ClayP]
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:07:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By t-stox:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The insanity of camping unarmed (regardless of local, state and federal laws) has been discussed in the Survival Forum in great detail.
It's sad that something so innocent as camping can turn you into a victim.



Come on you guys gotta get real though. Those poor people won what i call "the Anti-lottery"! Something that has only a billion to 1 chance of happening but when it does you dont win money you lose your life. But still you have a much worse chance of being murdered elsewhere. And even carrying a gun would'nt mitigate the circumstances, as this asshole probably just shot them in the back. Carry a gun in the wilderness for other creatures and not for some psycho asshole.



Go back and do a search.

MANY people have been murdered while camping.

Remember the lady and two girls who went missing a few years ago? There was even a very good news story about two guys who killed their attackers, who had every intention of murdering them.
And many members have posted experiences where they've come upon meth labs or have been stalked while camping.

Keep shleeping.


Hey I did'nt say go unarmed! I just said pack like you intend to kill a bear not a crack head! Because as you know what would killl a bear would have no effect on a crackhead.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:23:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LANCEMAN:

Originally Posted By RichardM308:

It's stupid that the law applies even to concealed weapon license holders. Do the national forests in FL come under state jurisdiction re firearms laws or fed? If state, then I would think with the Repub majority it would be a shoe-in to change.



National forests in other states allow firearms at all times so that would make one think that it is only the state law that prohibits it. Could be wrong though.



Uness I'm way off-base the National Forest here in MO are fine to carry. You can rest assured that if I am out in the woods my CCW is with me. I'm concerned about hunting seasons though. It's a technical violation to have a firearm and no permit, but I'm sorry... I don't camp unarmed deer season or not.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:45:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cheaptrickfan:
It is unfortunate. I've been to the Ocala Nat'l Forest many times and am a firm believer in being armed and vigilant.



Especially at their shooting range.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:49:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 7:49:16 AM EDT by Hokie]
You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Laws or no laws.

Act accordingly. Sad though, in any case

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:10:39 AM EDT
I won't camp where I can't carry...not going to canada either for same reason...sigh
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:23:51 AM EDT
Thats what pisses me off, Florida law says we can open carry while hunting, camping, or fishing but the rules change in Natl. and other "protected" Forest areas

Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:27:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kissfan:

Originally Posted By cheaptrickfan:
It is unfortunate. I've been to the Ocala Nat'l Forest many times and am a firm believer in being armed and vigilant.



Especially at their shooting range.



Isn't that the range where the Miami Shooters (Platt and whatshisname) shot the Cuban (?) guy and took his guns.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:29:24 AM EDT
Perhaps a campaign to change the law is in order?
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:04:44 AM EDT
While I'll agree that the laws need to be changed, sounds like them being armed wouldn't have made a difference. They got ambushed probably.

You can be as prepared as possible and armed, but sometimes it's just not your day if you know what I mean.

Wild Bill Hickock was armed when he got shot.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:06:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pv74:
Perhaps a campaign to change the law is in order?



I just called the NRA-ILA Grassroots hotline about firearms in Florida's national forests and state parks. Friendly people there, chatted for about 10 minutes about that and national concealed carry. Going to take a minute and write my state senator and state house representative about it later today. Hate to "use" this incident but since it is recent news it might help to plant the idea to repeal those prohibitions. Others should do the same.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:12:19 AM EDT
I'd rather walk down Jefferson Ave. in Detroit than the Appalachian Trail unarmed.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:14:35 AM EDT
I hunt/camp a lot, few of my rules is to assume something always might happen, be prepared, stay off main trails and campsites. Keep a very low profile. No one should ever know you are there. Also I use an old fly reel which I attach to a close tree and run the line in a perimeter about 20 yds from campsite. I set the height about 2' above ground, this lets the little critters thru. When something hits it the reel spins.

rk
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 10:21:53 AM EDT
I hunt/camp a lot, few of my rules is to assume something always might happen, be prepared, stay off main trails and campsites. Keep a very low profile. No one should ever know you are there. Also I use an old fly reel which I attach to a close tree and run the line in a perimeter about 20 yds from campsite. I set the height about 2' above ground, this lets the little critters thru. When something hits it the reel spins.

rk




Damn good thinking!
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 12:41:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By kissfan:

Originally Posted By cheaptrickfan:
It is unfortunate. I've been to the Ocala Nat'l Forest many times and am a firm believer in being armed and vigilant.



Especially at their shooting range.



Isn't that the range where the Miami Shooters (Platt and whatshisname) shot the Cuban (?) guy and took his guns.



Someone besides me is going to have to answer that one.

What I was referring to is their unmanaged open range in the forest.

Someone offed themselves there a few weeks ago practicing cowboy draws, and a LOT of the guys that come out there are down right scary. Absolutely ZERO range skills or manners.
Top Top