DADE CITY, Fla. - A long-awaited murder trial is set to begin Monday for a Pasco County man accused of killing his roommate and dismembering his body in 2010.
Friends say the victim, 56-year-old Stephen Perry, who was a well-known cartoon writer for the show ‘ThunderCats’ had fallen on hard times when he moved in with the defendant James Davis.
It's been 12 years since Perry vanished from his home in Zephyrhills he shared with Davis. In July 2010, two months after Perry was reported missing, Davis, who's now 56, was charged with killing him.
Neighbors we spoke with at the time didn't know Perry well, but say it was unnerving to know crime scene investigators were combing through a home just down the street.
"When the police officer came to talk to me he said he didn't even really know what was going on down there so living in the neighborhood makes you feel kind of creepy," neighbor Linda Hussy said.
Days after Perry was reported missing, police found his van abandoned in the parking lot of a Quality Inn on Bearss Avenue in Tampa. Inside the van investigators described finding a bloody scene, including human body parts.
Just a few miles down the road, more evidence, including bloody bedding, was discovered in a convenience store dumpster. Police say additional body parts were later discovered on Foamflower Boulevard in Wesley Chapel. The body parts found were later confirmed to be Perry's remains.
"Whose body parts did they find? We don't know. We just know there are body parts found and these missing people, and they're still missing. I mean that seems odd," Janine Meadows said.
After more than 100 court motions, a jury is now finally seated to hear the case in a Dade City courtroom. Among the evidence is a circular blade saw detectives say Davis is seen on surveillance video purchasing from a Land O' Lakes Walmart.
Opening statements are set to begin Monday morning.