TAMPA, Fla. - Samuel India Clarke identified as a transgender woman, but four years ago, her life was cut short. Her body was found in a park near the University Area Community Center.
Investigators identified Keith Gaillard as a suspect in her death.
Five days later, the body of Tyrone Davis was also found at a park.
Detectives again blamed Gaillard and prosecutor Ron Gale now plans to try both cases together, claiming there are similarities between the two murders.
"These murders are so similar. Again, these are members of the LGBTQ community. Both are found in public parks, both are shot in the head in the same area," explained Gale.
Prosecutors also point to DNA evidence found in both vehicles that allegedly matches Keith Gaillard, but weeks before his trial the defense is fighting to sever the two cases.
Hillsborough County public defender Dana Herse says the cases have no connection.
"It is absolutely clear that these cases are unrelated, but for they were both shot in the head, possibly with a .22 caliber, and Keith Gaillard was arrested for both of their murders. That is absolutely the only connection," argued Herse.
Herse also said combining the two cases is unfair; essentially stacking the deck against the defendant.
The judge will now have to decide whether the jury will hear about one murder or two. That decision is expected by the middle of the week. The trial is set for November 4, 2019.