Woman accused of leaving man to die in Hyde Park denied release before trial

New details emerged from a Tampa courtroom Friday about an alleged murder plot that played out in Ybor City.

Prosecutors say Melissa McNutt lured a stranger into her car and then shot him, leaving him bleeding to death in Hyde Park.

Now, McNutt faces a charge of first-degree murder but Friday in court, she asked a judge to let her out of jail.

The evidence against her is mounting.

Prosecutor Scott Harmon says McNutt killed Justin Heilig the night of September 30.

Heilig’s last post on Facebook was a photo of himself with the caption: “Late nights with a selfie.”

Hours later he would be dead.

The prosecution says defendant Melissa McNutt was cruising Ybor City that night, looking for a victim.

Harmon says when McNutt spotted Heilig, “she signals Mr. Heilig to her car and he gets in her car and is driven to his death.”

Heilig was later spotted on home surveillance cameras in Hyde Park, severely wounded, banging on doors and windows for help.

Tampa Police Detective Neal Smith told the judge Friday what the video shows.

“He is stumbling and actually falls on his chest. He is incapacitated for a few minutes,” said Detective Smith.

Justin was shot and stabbed. Detectives discovered a bloody knife and a Pandora bracelet not far from his body.

Tampa police would later link the bracelet to McNutt through Facebook photos.

However, her attorney, Carol Schlemmer says Facebook pictures don’t prove anything.

“Even if this was her bracelet, that doesn't prove a crime was committed. That doesn't prove that she committed first degree, premeditated murder,” argued Schlemmer.

Prosecutor Harmon countered, saying McNutt’s DNA was found on a knife on which the victim’s DNA also appeared.

Harmon called McNutt a danger to the community and urged the judge to keep her locked up until her trial.

Hillsborough Judge Chet Tharpe agreed.

“The defendant will remain in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail,” Tharpe said.