Tampa Bay Times

Suspect held in death of neighbor

- BY KATHRYN VARN Times Staff Writer

Investigat­ors say pay for yard work may have been behind the robbery and killing.

SAFETY HARBOR — A fourmonth death investigat­ion ended Friday when deputies arrested a 40-year-old man on a charge of first-degree murder.

Michael Robert-Jose Harbaugh is accused of killing longtime Tampa Tribune courts reporter David Sommer, 60, during an armed robbery in June, the Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Office said. He was arrested Friday morning at the Pinellas County Jail, where he was already in custody on an unrelated charge of violation of probation for felony battery.

According to investigat­ors, Harbaugh told neighbors that Sommer, who lived a few houses down from him on Harbor Cove Street, owed him money for yard work. He went to Sommer’s home and robbed him.

During the robbery, Sommer died of “homicidal violence,” the Sheriff ’s Office said without elaboratio­n. Sommer’s autopsy was not available Friday

The next morning, a Meals on Wheels food delivery worker found Sommer dead, then called law enforcemen­t.

Surveillan­ce video shows Harbaugh entering and leaving the home and no one else going to or from the house after he left. Harbaugh also gave “inconsiste­nt statements” to investigat­ors, according to the Sheriff ’s Office.

State records show Harbaugh pleaded guilty in January 2016 to domestic battery by strangulat­ion. He was arrested three times

 ??  ?? Michael Harbaugh
Michael Harbaugh
 ??  ?? David Sommer
David Sommer

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