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Cold case arrest: Florida man charged with murder 17 years later

Murder suspect Randy Petersilge

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – A Florida man is accused of first-degree murder in a 2001 murder case.

The murder happened back in November 2001 on a street called Sanctuary Drive in New Port Richey.

Police found Simon Clarke dead near a home construction site, beaten to death with a baseball bat. He’d gone there to help a friend check on some financial irregularities.

Police back then focused on Randy Petersilge, but they didn’t have enough to make an arrest.

New Port Richey Police Department Detective Joe Joppolo said, “I was lucky enough to locate some witnesses when I was assigned the case. They were a little more forthcoming than they were during the original investigation.”

Detective Joppolo got the cold case in 2016. He worked by digging through old files and eventually got a grand jury to indict Petersilge.

He’s being transferred from the federal lockup to the Pasco County Jail.

One of the victim’s three sons, Adam Clarke, was 11 at the time of the crime. He’s 28 now. He explained he’s from Miami. His dad moved from England in 1995, started a real estate company, and made a life in the states.

“This is like a wound that kind of gets picked at every so often,” Adam said of his father’s death. “We went to Tampa Bay Bucs games together. He loved to golf. These are the sort of memories that I have of someone that were only partially formed.”

Adam has gone years wondering if his dad’s killer would be caught. He’s optimistic a conclusion is at hand.

It’s been 17 years, but New Port Richey police are confident they’ve solved this case.

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