First a dinner offer, then murder-suicide

Published May 10, 2007

HUDSON - Richard Scoggins was installing a red front door on his girlfriend's mobile home when her ex-boyfriend called with a perplexing offer.

He wanted to come by and cook them dinner.

She said yes.

And what followed may have been premeditated murder.

The ex brought steaks and an 18-pack of Bud Light, according to Scoggins' roommate James Klontz. They all sat outside and drank while the steaks were on the grill.

You're a pretty nice guy, Scoggins told the ex-boyfriend, Antonio Duran. Then he kissed the woman they had in common.

This is what happened next about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at 13121 Tiller Drive, authorities said: Duran went to the bathroom and came back with a semiautomatic handgun. He shot Scoggins in the head, killing him. After a struggle with the woman, Maria Bautista, Duran shot himself to death.

Bautista had dated Duran for about a month earlier this year, Klontz said. She left him for Scoggins.

Duran, 40, lived at 10320 Oak Drive in Hudson. He had no prior criminal record in Florida.

Scoggins was 37. He was an electrician and a two-year graduate of St. Petersburg College, according to his mother, Lois Shattle. He had a daughter who is about 10 years old.

He had been arrested eight times in the past 16 years on charges ranging from battery to cocaine possession, state records show. But he was good with his hands and often used them to help others.

The last time his mother saw him, he put a water pump on her car. He was talking about building her a carport.

"He's going to be missed so much, " she said.

Klontz, Scoggins' roommate and friend, said he was at the house until he left to buy groceries minutes before the shooting. He believes Duran was waiting for him to leave.

He stood outside the next day, trying to understand.

"Love's like a lizard, " he said. "Sticks you in the heart, grabs you by the gizzard. That's what my brother told me."

Bautista, the girlfriend, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But at her house on the canal in Signal Cove, a sign of Scoggins' generosity remained.

It was the project he'd finished hours before his death: the new front door, blazing red in the afternoon light.

Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Thomas Lake can be reached at tlake@sptimes.com or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505.