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21-year cold case finally closed as man's murderer convicted in court, police say

Randy Petersilge is sentenced to life without parole for the 2001 murder of Simon Clarke.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Nearly 21 years to the day, a man's murderer has been sentenced to life in prison and the case is finally closed, the New Port Richey Police said in a release.

Police said their investigation began on Nov. 28, 2001, when they were called to a home on Sanctuary Drive near Sea Forest Drive for a reported death. 

Simon Clarke was found dead in a room inside the home, which was under construction at the time. Clarke was found beaten to death with injuries to his head and chest; a medical examiner determined he was killed due to multiple blunt-force trauma and his death was ruled a homicide.

However, despite detectives at the time interviewing witnesses, identifying a person of interest and even finding the murder weapon, no concrete leads were established. 

RELATED: Florida man walking out of prison instantly gets arrested again for murder

No arrests were made and eventually, in 2004, the case went "cold."

Then, in 2016, detectives said they reopened the case. Witnesses were reinterviewed and this time there were able to provide more details on their recollection of events. And, an additional witness was identified who was actually there when Clarke was murdered. 

These additional details and the new witness allowed police to bring the case to the Pasco County State Attorney's Office. In 2018, a grand jury was convened and an indictment for first-degree murder was issued for Randy Petersilge

The case went to trial on Nov. 14 and Petersilge was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. 

"Due to the persistence and tenacity of New Port Richey Police Department
Detectives; this case was finally closed," the department said in a release. 

RELATED: New DNA analysis helps solve 25-year-old St. Pete cold case murder

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