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Detectives investigate murder of registered sex offender

2-2-14 Florida:

Lake County detectives have determined a possible suspect in the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old sex offender that happened in Groveland early Saturday, deputies reported.

Detectives say the victim, Justin Russell, got into an argument with 18-year-old Travis L. Miller early Saturday morning. The argument ended with Miller opening fire and fatally shooting Russell.

Around 2:30 a.m., deputies responded to a call about the shooting in the 15700 block of Stuckey Loop in Groveland.

By the time they got to the scene, Russell was being treated for a gunshot wound by EMS personnel, an incident report said.

Russell was taken to South Lake Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies say Miller lives in Groveland but also frequents Clermont.

"Detectives are continuing to investigate," deputies said.

Russell has an extensive criminal background.

Department of Corrections records show that Russell spent time in prison for attempted sexual battery and failure to comply as a sex offender. ..Source.. by Tiffany Walden

Man, 19, faces life in prison for killing second cousin after fracas

19-year-old Groveland man was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder in the death of his second cousin despite his defense attorney's assertion that prosecutors would have to overcome a "Mount Everest-type mountain" of evidence to convict his client.

Jurors convicted Travis Leomontez Miller in the killing of Justin Russell, 31, at a gathering of family and friends in February 2014 in the Stuckey Loop area near Groveland. Miller, who didn't testify, faces a maximum of life in prison.

The argument stemmed from an ongoing dispute among residents in Groveland and Clermont over the disappearance of Xavier Tarrand, then 20, who was last seen January 2014. A Lake County Sheriff's Office detective testified that they believe Tarrand — Miller's uncle — is dead.

At some point at the get-together, Russell of Clermont stepped between Miller and another man with whom he was arguing. Miller then pointed a handgun at Russell's face. After Russell slapped the gun away and started to run, Miller fired multiple times. Russell died from the gunshot wounds.

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