Detectives say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Palmetto man killed the victim because he “messed up” his tattoo.
At 2:21 p.m. Tuesday, bicyclists spotted Joseph Terrell Allen’s body alongside the 11350 block of Old Tampa Road in Parrish and reported it to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Allen had also just been reported missing by family after not hearing from him since Monday night, when he said he was going to a home in Palmetto to tattoo someone.
Detectives obtained an arrest warrant Wednesday morning charging Jamal Christopher Calloway, 20, with second-degree murder in Allen’s death. Detectives believe Allen was shot dead early Tuesday morning in a home in the 2600 block of 15th Avenue East in Palmetto.
Never miss a local story.
Calloway was arrested Wednesday morning in the Newtown area of Sarasota, less than two hours after the sheriff’s office publicly identified him as a suspect. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest, and took Calloway to the Sarasota County jail. He was held without bond.
Jamal told (his cousin) he killed the victim because he messed up his tattoo.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant affidavit.
Calloway, whose listed occupation is a cook, lived in the 15th Avenue East Avenue home with a cousin. Detectives believe that is where Calloway killed Allen, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.
“Jamal told (his cousin) he killed the victim because he messed up his tattoo,” homicide detective Rabun Moss wrote in the affidavit after an interview with the suspect’s cousin.
Allen had been dropped off at their home about 7 p.m. Monday to tattoo Calloway, whom he knew as “Balo.” The victim and Calloway went to a bedroom in the back of the house so Allen could work on the tattoo, according to the report.
At about 1:45 a.m., Calloway’s cousin told detectives he left the house and, as he began to walk down the street to a friend’s house, he heard seven or eight gunshots. The cousin said he thought the shots were from his house, but he didn’t return home for another 30 minutes, according to the sheriff’s office.
The affidavit states when Calloway’s cousin returned, Calloway and Allen were gone. He did, however, find blood in the bedroom where they had been and bullet holes in the bedroom door and the bathroom next to the room.
Calloway’s cousin said he cleaned up the blood with a mop, towel and bleach and then put everything in a trash bag and left it by the door. He was unable to reach Calloway on his cell phone and, after cleaning up, he went to sleep on the couch, according to the report.
In the morning when he awoke, Calloway was back home and asked who had cleaned up, the cousin told detectives. When his cousin said he had cleaned up, Calloway then said he killed Allen because he “messed up” his tattoo.
He said he also dumped Allen’s body in Parrish and disposed of the evidence.
Now we are just looking forward to justice being served.
Marvina Allen, stepmother of victim James Allen.
Detectives and crime-scene technicians worked into the night to process the home for evidence after obtaining a search warrant. Bullet holes and blood splatter were found in the bedroom.
A Mossberg shotgun, a .22-caliber assault rifle, a .38-caliber revolver, a 9 mm Glock handgun and 7.62-caliber assault rifle were all taken from the home by investigators although it is not know if one was the murder weapon, Bristow said.
A shoe believed to be Allen’s was also found in a different bedroom and another shoe with blood splatter was found where the tattoo work had been done, detectives reported. Four 7.62-caliber casings were also found.
A Mossberg shotgun, a .22-caliber assault rifle, a .38-caliber revolver, a 9 mm Glock handgun and 7.62-caliber assault rifle were all found and taken from the home where detectives believe Jamal Calloway killed James Allen.
Allen was last heard from at 10:30 p.m. Monday when he texted his fiancee to say he was still working on the tattoo. On Tuesday morning, Allen’s fiancee went to the home after not hearing from him again all night and said a man inside did not answer the door.
At 4:18 p.m. Tuesday, detectives responded to the home after the sheriff’s office received a 911 call from Allen’s family because they reportedly saw two men running away from the house when they arrived to look for him.
Allen’s family was grateful to hear the news of Calloway’s arrest.
“We want to thank God, and we want thank the work ethics of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and their proficiency,” Marvina Allen said for herself and her husband. “Now we are just looking forward to justice being served.”
Allen’s stepmother said she and her husband never lost faith the sheriff’s office would solve the case.
“We trust in our justice system and won’t take it into our own hands, and we thank God for our law enforcement officers,” she said.
Allen’s 5-year-old daughter is doing well but Allen said she would definitely miss her father.
“She has a great support system,” she said. “She is well loved and she knew that her father loved her.”
Anyone with information on the the case can call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747- 3011, ext. 2519, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward call Crime Stoppers at 866-634- TIPS.