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COPS: Escaped inmate charged with double murder in St. Pete | News

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COPS: Escaped inmate charged with double murder in St. Pete

St. Petersburg, Florida - No one in the historical Kenwood neighborhoood of St. Petersburg expected something so sinsiter to happen over the weekend.

Neighbors say their peace was shattered when Michael Scott Norris paid a visit to 2635 4th Avenue North.

The man police call a career criminal committed a double homicide, according to arrest reports, and then set the house on fire.  His rap sheet has dozens and dozens of arrests.

"He was dumbfounded when he was caught," says Major Mike Kovacsev.

St. Pete Police held a news conference Thursday afternoon and told reporters that Norris shot and killed 51-year-old Bruce Johnson and 36-year-old Arthur Regula over the weekend.

Norris is now charged with first degree murder.

"The families are happy he's been caught and is off the streets," said Kovacsev.

Norris was staying at a work release program in Pinellas County at the Goodwill Largo work release facility.  He was staying there to re-enter society.

The facility representatives would only say that they were "shocked and distressed," calling this crime spree an "unprecedented event."

However, there have been 27 "walk-aways" from the facility in the last year.  The organizers would not discuss any possible changes to policy.

Norris, police say, took off Sunday and never came back.  That's when he was reported as an escapee.

Police say his crime spree started at the Driftwood Motel in St. Petersburg where Norris stole a gun.  Then, he took off to the home on 4th Avenue, police say, and murdered the two men.  

After alllegedly murdering the men, detectives say, Norris stole an F-150 pick up belonging to one of the victims.

On Tuesday, cops arrested Norris for breaking into the motel room and stealing a gun, and today charged him with the murder of Johnson and Regula, as well as the arson of the home.

He is being held in the Pinellas County jail with no bond.


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