MANATEE — Detectives have arrested a Manatee County jail inmate in the 2005 killing of a homeless man, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.
Authorities served Claude Oneal Kite, 39, with a murder warrant at the jail Monday in the December 2005 death of Thomas Summerlin. Kite had already been in jail on a charge of aggravated battery.
Sheriff’s reports say Kite beat Summerlin and put him in a Dumpster in the parking lot of an abandoned gas station in the 1400 block of 53rd Avenue West. Detectives found Summerlin’s body on Dec. 27, 2005, in the Dumpster with his pants around his ankles and his hands tied behind his back with shoelaces.
Detectives arrested Kite, who was also homeless at the time of the killing, after several witnesses told investigators Kite had spoken of killing Summerlin. Kite told acquaintances he killed Summerlin because he was behind on his rent for sleeping in a homeless camp at the time, according to sheriff’s reports.
One witness said he saw Kite first choke Summerlin “until he passed out,” then could hear Kite “stomping” Summerlin. After the attack, the witness said Kite came over to an oak tree where they were staying for the night and went to sleep, according to the sheriff’s report.