Son Slays Father, Sets Fire on New Year’s Eve

A Holiday, Florida man was arrested early Thursday morning after he allegedly stabbed his Father to death and then poured gasoline on the body setting it ablaze inside the master bedroom of their home located at 5617 Mosaic Drive, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the bedroom where it originated, according to Fox 13 News.

Baron Von Duke Vercruysse, 23 was arrested Tuesday morning after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, accused him of” homicidal violence” in the related death of his Father, 52-year-old Rene Dominique Vercruysse.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Sherriff’s deputies believed a dispute between the father and son led to the death.

Police discovered the elder Vercruysse’s body when they responded to the fire at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Monday night. An initial autopsy revealed that the elder Vercruysse died of “homicidal violence”, and not injuries consistent with the fire, according to Bay News 9.

Deputies specified that the younger Vercruysse confessed to the murder. He’s been charged with first-degree murder as well as arson. The Times reports that his prior rap sheet includes larceny and more than one possession of a controlled substance.

A neighbor also told The Times that he heard a sharp scream discernible from New Year’s Eve festivities Monday evening, just before authorities responded to the fire. “It was sharp,” Randal Tilton said. “It scared me.”

Bail was denied by Judge W. Lowell Bray Jr. on the murder count. A bond of $150,000 was fixed on the arson charge. Vercruysse was also assigned a public defender, although he told the Judge that he made, “two grand a month.”

Vercruysse is now being held in Land O’Lakes jail. It is reported that he claimed self-defense citing years of abuse by his Father. He said he lived in fear of doing anything wrong. He said he suffered black eyes, bloody noses, fat lips imposed by his Father.

“I didn’t mean to kill him,” Vercruysse told the Times. “I just wanted him to stop beating me.”

He said he fought back on New Year’s Eve. His account of that night is as follows:

Vercruysse said he had been at a friend’s house. When he came home to the house he shared with his father on Mosaic Drive in Holiday the arguing began over Vercruysse’s monetary issues, continued unemployment and his messy room. The argument took place in the bedroom. Then he said his father took a .38-caliber pistol from the nightstand and aimed it at him.

Vercruysse then shoved his Father and turned away. Purportedly, the elder Vercruysse then brought the butt of the gun down on his son’s head. Vercruysse said the blow brought him down to the ground where he noticed a knife with about a 3-inch blade under the bed. He said he grabbed it, stood up and faced his father, closed his eyes, and stabbed.

“All he could hear in the dark, his hand thrusting outward, was his father’s scream.” A neighbor would tell reporters later.

When questioned during the investigation his Sister, Elizabeth, described her Father as a different man from her Brother’s accusatory description. She remembers her father as being a big, jovial man with a thick Cajun accent. He called her every day and his best friend was her 9-year-old daughter. “He could be tough sometimes”, she said,” but deep down he was a mush ball.”

A date for opening arguments has not been set.

Related, (Penalties of Murder Charges):


First degree murder is a serious offense. A conviction in the State of Florida, carry either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. Self-defense under the stand your ground statute is an affirmative defense that should be raised as should the battered victim defense in a case such as this. If you are being investigated for, and/or charged with first-degree murder and are looking for a criminal defense attorney in the Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Palm Beach Counties that is well-versed in first-degree murder defense,. Mr. Cohen’s office can provide the skilled representation you require.