Suspect in burning caught at Mexican border

Published April 4, 2007

BROOKSVILLE - A Lutz man accused of shooting a man in Spring Lake and setting him on fire was arrested by Border Patrol agents Monday in Brownsville, Texas.

Meanwhile, a woman whom authorities believed helped with the attack, Carlene M. Troyer, 35, of Lutz, turned herself in at the Sheriff's Office in Brooksville.

John W. Thornton, 28, was arrested by agents at a crossing on the Mexican border. He was wanted on charges of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.

Troyer has been charged with conspiracy to an attempted first-degree murder.

They are two of four people being held in the March 16 attack on Luke Griggs, 19, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Griggs, "was forced at gunpoint into his vehicle and driven to Hayman and Dan Brown Hill roads in Hernando County, shot with a firearm, drenched with gasoline, lit on fire and left for dead," the release stated.

Griggs escaped from the burning truck, his clothes on fire, and was helped by a motorist who had been driving by the intersection, the release said.

The Sheriff's Office has previously said Griggs was "an associate" of the four people accused of attacking him. On Tuesday, Deputy Donna Black, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, offered no more information about their relationship, saying it was still under investigation.

She also said deputies hoped to gather more information from interviewing Thornton and Troyer.

Troyer was being held in the Hernando County Jail on Tuesday. Thornton had not been booked there, and Black said she did not know when he would return from Texas.

Erik Limas, 22, was charged last week with attempted first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping while he was in jail in Louisiana. Bradley House, 25, was arrested on a charge of accessory after the fact.

Both men are from Lutz, as is Griggs, who was treated for severe burns at Tampa General Hospital and is expected to survive his burns.

In 2002, Thornton pleaded guilty to charges of selling drugs and drug possession.

Dan DeWitt can be reached at dewitt@sptimes.com or (352)754-6116.