Murder suspect remains free on bail

Published March 1, 2007

DADE CITY - Since charging him with battery after a fight in October, prosecutors have wanted Eric Antwon "E-Love" Wilson off the street.

Wilson faces trial soon in the 2001 shooting death of "Little" Ronnie Barber at the Trilacoochee nightclub Rumors. The 32-year-old Dade City man has been free on $110,000 bail since his arrest nearly six years ago.

But in January the State Attorney's Office filed a misdemeanor battery charge against Wilson, saying he beat a man up during a brawl at Rumors, now known as Club Illusions, in October. Prosecutors were set to ask a judge to revoke Wilson's bond.

In court Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia said the victim in the battery, Brian Thomas, had filed an affidavit saying Wilson wasn't the right guy. Thomas, a bouncer at Rumors, swore he hadn't been threatened or coerced into changing his story.

Garcia backed off his request.

"I cannot in good faith go forward with the motion to revoke his bond," Garcia told Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa.

Thomas, however, identified two other suspects, including Darren Hambrick, a former Pasco High School football standout who played in the NFL.

Hambrick, 31, of Lacoochee, also faces a battery charge in the incident. He failed to show up at his arraignment Feb. 9, but because no charging document had been filed the judge in that case did not issue a warrant for his arrest. The case is pending.

Meanwhile, Wilson's murder trial is set for mid March. But his attorney, Aldo Ojeda, indicated Wednesday it might be delayed again. A new witness who claims to have seen the Feb. 25, 2001, shooting has surfaced, though Ojeda has been unable to find and question him.

"He's crucial," Ojeda said. "I really can't go forward."

The trial has been delayed at least a dozen times, most recently in October when a key state witness failed to show up, and allegations surfaced that Wilson bribed the woman to stay away.

Wilson's co-defendant, Scottie Lee "D'Angelo" was twice tried and convicted in the crime. He is serving a life sentence.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at 352 521-6521 or moorhead@sptimes.com