BRADENTON -- A 49-year-old man is being held in the Manatee County jail on a $500,000 bond after detectives say he killed a man by slamming a concrete block on his head and stabbing him repeatedly.
Michael Morico was arrested late Wednesday morning and charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Kevin House, 52.
Morico appeared Thursday before Manatee County Judge Charles Sniffen. Given Morico's criminal history and the severity of the charges, the State Attorney's Office requested Morico continue to be held without bond.
"In order to hold you without bond, I have to find the presumption of guilt great and the proof is evident," Sniffen said. "Based on the information provided in the probable cause affidavit, I am not prepared to do that."
When asked about his ties to the community, Morico said he has lived in the area for more than 22 years and resides in one of two homes, the primary one being his mother's and stepfather's home on Longboat Key.
If considering a monetary bond, the prosecutor asked it be set at $500,000 since Morico is considered a danger to the community based on the nature of the crime and his criminal history, which includes several arrests for domestic violence and convictions for three misdemeanors, driving with a suspended license and violation of pretrial release.
Sniffen agreed that was a reasonable request, and set Morico's bond at $500,000 and ordered he have no contact with any witnesses in the case.
House's body was discovered about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, when deputies were searching a homeless camp in a wooded area in the 4700 block of 15th Street East for a suspect
in an unrelated case. House's body had been wrapped in a green tarp and was found under a tree just outside the campsite area.
The sheriff's office said between 10 and 11 p.m. Tuesday, the victim had been hanging out with Morico at the homeless camp when the two got into an argument.
According to investigators, Morico first punched House, who was sitting in a chair, knocking him to the ground. He then picked up a nearby concrete block and smashed it on his head. When a witness attempted to stop Morico, his life was threatened as well. Morico then grabbed a knife and began stabbing House.
Morico used a shopping cart to move the body to about 10 to 15 feet outside the campsite, then asked the witness whether he should dismember House, the witness told detectives.
A bloody concrete block and two knifes were found at the scene and taken into evidence, according to a sheriff's report.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.