A Deltona man who killed another man after an argument is in custody on a charge of first-degree murder.
The Central Florida incident was initially reported as a shooting. The 21-year-old male victim came out of a house at Glenridge Terrace, bleeding with an obvious injury to his abdomen. A witness stopped to help and called 911. When asked who was responsible for his injury, the victim pointed back at the house but was unable to provide more details. He was rushed to the hospital in Deltona, but did not survive his injuries.
Deputies saturated the area searching for a known person of interest identified as 31-year-old Joseph L. McDonald. McDonald’s name was provided by a witness who was in the garage of the house at the time of the incident, and was still on scene when deputies arrived.
McDonald had fled the scene, but with his photo already released to the public and reverse 911 calls sent out to surrounding residents, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office started receiving reports of sightings.
As helicopter crews searched overhead and K-9 units assisted deputies on the ground, McDonald was spotted coming out of some brush off of Newmark Drive, about 3 miles from the incident. McDonald had an injury to his left hand that was wrapped and bleeding, and he was transported to the hospital in Sanford.
At the Deltona hospital, an examination of the victim’s body revealed he had stab wounds, not gunshot wounds as initially believed.
Medical personnel at the Sanford hospital also advised McDonald’s hand injuries appeared to be lacerations from a sharp object.
In an interview with detectives, the surviving witness from the house said he and the victim had gone to their friend’s house at Glenridge Terrace to smoke marijuana. Their friend wasn’t there, but his brother, McDonald, was. McDonald let them in, but eventually became upset when he was not given a chance to smoke. The witness said McDonald threatened to kill the victim.
As the argument appeared to be escalating, the witness went to the garage, where he heard the two scuffling inside the house. Soon after that, the victim came outside bleeding and asking someone to call 911.
Detectives learned that McDonald had been living at the house for about two months and had been experiencing significant mental illness for several years.
McDonald was charged with first-degree murder and was held without bond.