Longboat Key police chief gives statement on arrest made in Zota Beach Resort murders
The man who murdered two Zota Beach Resort employees during a robbery on Longboat Key last week was a disgruntled fellow employee who had complained about not making enough money at the resort, according to police.
A specific motive for why Darryl Vaughn Hanna Jr., 28, shot and killed fellow security guard, Kevin Carter, 51, and night front desk manager, Timothy Hurley, 59, at about 2:40 a.m. Aug. 4 has not been determined, Longboat Key Chief of Police Pete Cumming said during a news conference Thursday morning.
But court documents note that Hanna got away with about $900 from the hotel.
Hanna had been complaining about his finances and his lack of scheduled hours at the resort in the days leading up to the shooting, a fellow employee told detectives, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. That same tipster told police that Hanna resembled the man in surveillance footage captured during the robbery and released to the public last week.
At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, detectives with the multi-agency Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit arrested Hanna at a home in the 900 block of 28th Street East in Bradenton and charged him with two counts of second-degree murder and armed robbery. Hanna is being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.
On Thursday afternoon, Hanna made his first appearance before a judge.
“I do find that the presumption of evidence is great as presented in this affidavit,” Circuit Judge Charles Sniffen told Hanna.
After the killings, officials with Victory Security — the same company Carter worked for — called Hanna and asked him to work what would have been Carter’s shift, Assistant State Attorney Art Brown said in court. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Hanna said he could no longer work for the security company because he had taken a job as a cook at a local nursing home.
Hanna’s cell phone had pinged off a cell phone tower about 2,800 feet from the resort, detectives found, during a 46-minute period leading up to and immediately after the shootings. Detectives were able to use the time stamp on the resort’s video surveillance system to determine the time of the shootings, according to the affidavit.
Assistant Public Defender Franklin Roberts argued Hanna being on Longboat Key did not prove anything, because he also worked at Zota.
Brown responded that Hanna had not worked at the resort since Aug. 2, two days before slayings.
Carter’s longtime partner of nearly 24 years, Thomas Swigeart, sat in the courtroom, holding photographs of the two together. Outside the courthouse, he shared how much Carter had loved his job with Victory Security over the past several years.
“He just couldn’t wait to start at Zota,” Swigeart said.
Carter worked at the resort for only three weeks before he was killed.
Carter had told Swigeart about Hanna and how he did not like his attitude at work.
“Kevin specifically requested not to work with him,” Swigeart said.
The two men were excited about their upcoming wedding on Nov. 11, on what would have been their 24th anniversary together.
“He loved everybody. He was friends with everybody. Everybody that knew him loved him,” Swigeart said. “I loved him, especially. For 24 years I loved him.”
The two met around the time Swigeart was diagnosed with a terminal illness he said, and Carter always stayed by his side and often kept him alive. Carter had also adopted his daughter, and they now had five grandchildren.
“How do you tell a 7-year-old girl that her Pop Pop isn’t ever coming home,” Swigeart said. “You can’t.”
The arrest warrant affidavit for Hanna details what police believe happened early on the morning of Aug. 4.
Hanna walked into the resort’s lobby from a construction area that led to the pool, according to the affidavit.
“After entering the lobby of the resort, this subject quickly located Kevin Carter and Timothy Hurley,” Police Chief Cumming said during the press conference.
Within moments, Hanna shot and killed both employees and left with three cash register drawers with about $900. His knowledge of the resort appeared to help him get in and out quickly, according to Cumming.
At about 3:20 a.m., about 40 minutes after the shooting, a resort guest walked into the lobby and found the slain security guard and called 911.
The surveillance video was key in building the case against Hanna, according to the affidavit.
Hanna’s “mannerism such as his walk, the way he turns, the way his body is shaped and the way Darryl stands as well as his general mannerisms is that of Darryl Hanna,” the tipster told detectives. Hanna had complained about not making enough money while working the resort, the tipster also said.
“Darryl Hanna was the only one of his employees who did not call in to ask about the shooting at Zota Resort and to ascertain which employee was killed,” Victory Security owner Ron Filbert told police. “Filbert stated that when he told Darryl Hanna that a fellow employee was killed, Hanna’s response was, ‘How many times did they get shot.’”
Detectives also used Hanna’s Facebook page to link him to the killings, according to the affidavit. In pictures showing Hanna holding a gun, he stated, “I have a 9 as well.” Crime scene technicians confirmed that both victims were shot with 9mm ammunition.
The fatal shooting on the quiet beach island rocked the community, which had not seen a homicide since 2000.
“Our residents aren’t use to this kind of violence,” Cumming said. “This was an isolated incident and it was ugly, horrible incident and the quick resolution to that reassured to our people that this is in fact a safe community and it will stay that way.”