Image: The Summerfield, Fla. home where Seath Tyler Jackson, 15, was allegedly beaten, shot and burned to death
Alan Youngblood  /  The Ocala Star-Banner via AP
This is the Summerfield, Fla. home where authorities say Seath Tyler Jackson, 15, was killed. Jackson was allegedly lured to the central Florida home Sunday night, where he was fatally beaten and shot by a group before his body was burned in a fire pit. Investigators have arrested six people, ranging in age from 15 to 37. staff and news service reports
updated 4/21/2011 10:57:02 AM ET 2011-04-21T14:57:02

When Seath Tyler Jackson received a text message Sunday afternoon from a 15-year-old ex-girlfriend saying she wanted to rekindle their romance and that they should meet at a central Florida house, a female friend of Jackson's sensed something wasn't right.

"I wouldn't fall for that," 16-year-old Brittnay Jones told Jackson, she recalled to The Associated Press.

The 15-year-old Jackson ignored his friend's advice and went Sunday to a house in Summerfield, northwest of Orlando.

There, authorities said, he was fatally beaten and shot as a result of a plot to lure him there and kill him. Then, Jackson's body was stuffed into a sleeping bag and burned, and the remains were put in paint buckets and dumped at a remote lime rock pit, authorities allege.

Marion County sheriff's investigators said the way the defendants carried out the crime was unlike anything they had ever seen.

"Our detectives — seasoned detectives — shook their heads in disbelief because this type of first-degree murder is unimaginable," The Orlando Sentinel quoted sheriff's department spokesman Judge Cochran as saying.

Authorities on Tuesday night arrested six people in connection with the crime, charging five with first-degree murder. The five were being held without bond.

Friends, family gather for vigil
Jackson's friends and family gathered for a vigil Wednesday night, hours after prosecutors charged the group with murder, WESH-TV reported.

The teen's friends expressed disbelief at the possibility that former friends could carry out such a brutal attack.

"Who could murder a 15-year-old boy?" asked William Samalot, whom WESH identified as Jackson's best friend.

Investigators said in an arrest affidavit that five suspects had acknowledged varying roles in Jackson's death. Authorities said the 15-year-old girl and a woman, 18-year-old Charlie Kay Ely, acknowledged trying to persuade Jackson to come to the woman's house.

Deputies also said the girl's brother, 16, and 20-year-old Justin Soto acknowledged participating in the attack on Jackson and alleged that 18-year-old Michael Bargo shot Jackson repeatedly with a .22-caliber revolver.

The Orlando Sentinel identified the 15- and 16-year-olds as Jackson's ex-girlfriend Amber Wright and her brother, Kyle Hooper.

Authorities, as well as family and friends, said Bargo was dating Jackson's ex-girlfriend and had gotten into a fight with him several weeks ago.

Plot to kill
The five were gathered at the house Sunday "when Michael Bargo began to speak of his hatred for the victim Seath Jackson," authorities wrote the 16-year-old boy told them. "The conversation then turned into a plan to lure Seath to the residence so that Michael Bargo could kill him with the assistance of other persons."

Authorities have also charged the stepfather of the minor suspects, 37-year-old James Young Havens III, with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. He was being held on $10,000 bond.

Image: Justin Soto, Michael Bargo, Charlie Ely, James Havens III
Marion County Sheriff's Office via AP
Clockwise from top left: Justin Soto, 20; Michael Bargo, 18; Charlie Ely, 18; and James Havens III, 37, shown in booking photos released by the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Ocala, Fla. Sherriff's investigators said they suspect the group in the death of 15-year-old Seath Tyler Jackson, who was beaten and shot multiple times Sunday night at a home in Summerfield. 

Investigators were searching Wednesday afternoon for remains in both the fire and lime rock pits, as well as for the murder weapon.

They continued the search Thursday, WFTV reported.

Bargo and some friends began plotting Jackson's death after the two fought several weeks ago, authorities said, and things moved quickly.

The plan called for Bargo's girlfriend to text Jackson, telling him that she wanted to get back together and that he should meet her at the house, authorities said. Ely and Soto were living at the house, and Bargo sometimes stayed there, according to court papers.

'You should be done with me'
Authorities said Ely told them that she and the 15-year-old girl met with Jackson to try to get him "back to her residence so that the murder could take place." But Jackson didn't return with them due to a disagreement.

Ely told deputies "Michael Bargo was furious and demanded that the two get Juvenile Jackson to the house so that the plan could be carried out," according to the affidavit.

That's when the 15-year-old girl sent a text message to Jackson, authorities said.

Brittnay Jones told the AP that Jackson told her Sunday about the texts. Jackson's Facebook postings in early March displayed affection toward the girl whom he'd dated, but they turned angry toward the end of the month.

Citing some of the Facebook posts, WFTV said Jackson appeared to have accused Wright of cheating on him during their relationship.

"You continuously write s--- about me," she wrote in one post cited by WFTV.

"I said I was done with you, and you should be done with me," Jackson replied.

"It takes a real man to accept the fact that he got broke up with," Wright volleyed back.

Vicious beating
When Jackson arrived Sunday afternoon, authorities said Soto told them, Bargo and the 16-year-old boy emerged from a spare bedroom and began to beat Jackson. The 16-year-old told authorities that he and Soto struck Jackson with wooden objects.

Bargo then shot Jackson several times, several defendants told investigators.

Authorities said Soto told them that when Jackson tried to escape, he struck him with an ax handle and restrained him. Investigators say Soto acknowledged helping place the victim in a bath tub, where he said Bargo beat his kneecaps and, realizing Jackson was still alive, shot him again.

Afterward, some group members hog-tied Jackson and put his body in a sleeping bag, which was placed in the backyard fire pit and burned for several hours, authorities said.

His ashes were then put into 5-gallon paint cans and disposed of, authorities said. The house was then scoured with bleach to get rid of the blood.

Havens told investigators he arrived after the slaying and helped put the ashes into the paint cans and get rid of other evidence, authorities said.

Reported missing
Jackson's parents reported him missing Monday, thinking he had run away. Authorities said they learned of the slaying Tuesday when Havens' wife called investigators to say her 16-year-old son had witnessed the slaying.

Bargo, Soto, Ely — who maintains she ran into the bedroom before any shots were fired — and the minor siblings were arrested hours later.

Phone messages left by the AP at listings for Bargo, Soto, Ely and Havens were not returned Wednesday. A phone number listed for the victim's parents was not in service. A woman who was standing outside the victim's home about three miles from the attack site told an AP reporter to leave.

Court records show that Bargo had earlier charges of burglary and grand theft. Another court record showed that a woman had sought an injunction against Bargo to protect her son. The woman's phone number was disconnected.

Bargo's attorney for that case, Charles Holloman, said his client did not have a violent track record.

"He's had his scraps, just like a lot of kids growing up, but certainly nothing that rises to this level," Holloman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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