The 39-year-old guy who killed another man by striking him with a spike made of industrial metal has been found guilty of second-degree murder. Joshua Vanderheart will be sentenced on March 1 and could spend up to life in prison for the offense.
In June 2023, witnesses reported seeing the victim near Tampa Park Plaza, bleeding from the skull, but not breathing. Vanderheart’s DNA was found on the handle of the murder weapon, which was five pounds in weight and 21 inches long, according to evidence produced by the prosecution.
The murder weapon also included the victim’s DNA. The victim had blunt force injuries to the head and torso, according to the medical examiner’s testimony.
Vanderheart was seen on many surveillance footage entering the park and moving through the neighborhood close to the time of the murder. Investigators discovered a few of his personal items at the park following the crime.
“We should all be able to enjoy quiet time in a local park without the fear of violence. The defendant brutally beat the victim in a public place where families bring their children to play. He will be held accountable for this brazen act, and we hope this verdict gives the victim’s family comfort,” State Attorney Suzy Lopez stated.