University Police announced Wednesday it had identified all four individuals related to the Feb. 9 on-campus murder of Ron Stem in Parking Lot 24 near Magnolia Apartments. Two of the individuals were indicted Wednesday morning. All of the suspects were minors, and not much more information about them was released.
According to UP Capt. Bob Staehle, Najee Hunter, Morgan Nelson and two other individuals – whose names were not released because they are minors and have not been indicted – agreed to commit a robbery at USF on the night of Feb. 9 and split the cash four ways.
The result, though, was the murder of 57-year-old Stem, which Staehle described as a “tragic anomaly.”
Staehle said the whole situation was very random and described it at one point as “absolutely senseless.”
“It happened as a result of decisions that were made off of this campus, and quite frankly, Ron Stem was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Staehle said.
UP, along with the Tampa Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, spent about 2,000 man hours investigating the crime.
The shooter was not named but is already incarcerated as a result of unrelated charges brought by another law enforcement agency, according to Staehle.
Staehle said the other unnamed suspect was at large, but his location is known and it is up to the State Attorney’s Office if and when he will be taken into custody.
Morgan Nelson, 16, was indicted for first-degree murder and attempted robbery Wednesday morning.
Najee Hunter, 17, who drove the three aforementioned suspects from the scene of the crime, was indicted for first-degree murder Wednesday morning.
The two named suspects lived within a few miles of campus.
Staehle said Nelson and the two unnamed suspects accosted Stem, who “failed to produce any money” and was shot dead.
Staehle said he could not comment on the encounter between the suspects and Stem or a number of other specifics regarding the investigation because the case is not closed.
Staehle said investigators were eventually able to identify the vehicle driven by Hunter, which was a white 2002 Mitsubishi Galant.
“This led the investigative team to Najee Hunter, who admitted his involvement in the crime along with further information leading to the identification of the other three suspects,” Staehle said.
Hunter was arrested March 3, and Nelson was arrested March 19.
Most Magnolia residents asked about the situation were both relieved and surprised at the news.
“I was under the impression that we would never find these guys,” Magnolia resident freshman Eric Suprenant said. “Now that they finally got somebody, we’re like, ‘Yeah, all right.'”
Some Magnolia residents, such as junior Rachel Roman, said they still don’t feel safe.
“It could have been anybody,” Roman said. “They had security tight for a little bit, but then it just disintegrated. It fell through. It’s not good. It’s not safe here, it’s not.”
Roman said she will not be living on campus next year.
Stem’s murder was the first on campus since Feb. 17, 1994, when 19-year-old Heather Haupin was shot outside of Kosove Hall by her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Peter Howarth, following a White Zombie concert at the Special Events Center.