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Decades Old Cold Case Solved, Man Sentenced to Life in Brutal Murder

NEW PORT RICHEY – A 2001 murder investigation has come to a close and the suspect will remain behind bars the rest of his life.

According to the New Port Richey Police, on November 28, 2001, Police responded to 4725 Sanctuary Drive in reference to a death investigation. The victim, Simon Clarke, was found deceased in a room of a house that was under construction. Clarke had sustained injuries to his head and chest. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple blunt force trauma and ruled as a homicide.

Detectives at the time conducted several interviews with potential witnesses and identified a person of interest. The murder weapon was located; however, the processing of the object did not reveal any leads. No arrests were made, and the case went "cold" in 2004.

In 2016, New Port Richey Police Detectives reopened the case after witnesses offered to provide additional details on their recollection of events. An additional witness was also identified who was present during the homicide. Due to witness testimony and added details, the case was brought to the Pasco County State Attorney's Office.

The case was presented to a Grand Jury in 2018, and an indictment for first-degree murder was issued for Randy Petersilge. The case went to trial on November 14, 2022, and Petersilge was found guilty of first-degree murder and 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 departed stated in a release.


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