Crime Stoppers: Elderly Seminole man bludgeoned to death

7:42 PM, Sep 17, 2010   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Veteran Detective Mike Bailey calls this was the most horrific crime scene "as far as a beating is concerned."

It was a bloodbath.

Detective Bailey said, "This went from room to room throughout the entire mobile home, a massive amount of blood lost by the victim."

It was December 8, 1984. A Seminole man was beaten so severely, you could hardly recognize him.

Detective Bailey told us, "We do not know what object he was struck with."

81-year-old John Briegel was found stabbed with a skull fracture and broken ribs.  Pieces of his face and head were missing.

This was clearly a crime of passion. Every surface of his trailer was covered in blood, and detectives say John's roommate, Lou, was the main suspect.

John Briegel retired from the Air Force and then made his home at the La Tropical Mobile Home Park on Seminole Boulevard. Nieghbors say back in 1984, John took on a roommate for just a week. and by the end of that week, he was dead and his roommate was gone.

"I think Mr. Briegel is being very coy with his neighbors and said, 'This person's name is Lou,' and didn't provide them with any other details," said Detective Bailey.

A week before his death, John Briegel met Lou, a young man who said he was in the concrete trade and down on his luck.  John offered him a place to stay.

Detective Bailey admits, "John probably saw that this person was down on his luck, looking for a job, this type of thing, and this was his nature, that he would help people out."

Detectives say the 81-year-old had no way of knowing that within a week Lou would murder him, steal his white Cadillac and use his credit cards on a spending spree all the way to Ohio.

"Obviously, the vehicle is still out there, the credit card. We do have some prints... there is some DNA in this case," said Detective Bailey.

Sadly, in the end, John Briegel was discovered on his living room floor after two days. Detectives say he died alone.

If you know who killed John Briegel or know the whereabouts of his roommate, Lou, please call Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County at 1-800-873-TIPS. 

Melanie Brooks, 10 News

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