Man arrested for Pinellas shopping center murder

- Pinellas Park police investigators have made an arrest in the murder of Will Joe Hodges who was discovered dead inside a dumpster enclosure at the Shoppes at Park Place off Park Boulevard earlier this month.

Officers responded to the Shoppes at Park Place and said the man was found by two people who were collecting cardboard from the dumpsters behind the shopping center. The victim, who was later identified as 38-year-old Will Hodges, had suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said Hodges was a transient in the area.

Investigators say they have arrested Corey Dean Palmer Watkins after fingerprints left at the scene in the victim's blood matched Watkins' fingerprints. Watkins was located early Sunday morning and taken into police custody. During questioning detectives said Watkins admitted to having previously stayed at the location where the murder took place.

However, Watkins denied any knowledge of the death of Hodges. Watkins is being charged with one count of second degree murder. Investigators still have not come up with a motive for the murder and are continuing to investigate.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Man arrested for Pinellas shopping center murder
  • Loud car causes scare at Lake Gibson High
  • Report of gun on bus prompts Sarasota school lockdowns
  • Irma victims line up for help in Polk County
  • Killer remains at large in Seminole Heights murders
  • Section of Channelside coming down
  • Hillsborough County Fair opens today
  • CPD: Officers forced to shoot armed suicidal man
  • UF braces for Spencer speaking engagement
  • Officer shares 25-year battle with Crohn's disease