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Largo Leader
Homeless man charged with murder
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William Sargent Coffin III
LARGO – Largo police arrested William Sargent Coffin III Feb. 25 and charged him with first degree murder in the death of 50-year-old Patricia Canon King.

Described as a permanent transient, Coffin met King not long before police found her body at Feb. 6, in her home on 10th Ave. NW., said Largo Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul Amodeo. The day before, she had invited Coffin over after they struck up a conversation near her home.

While he was there, he stole some jewelry he later tried to sell, Amodeo said.

He later returned to her home and had sex with King. It appeared to be consensual.

“We don’t have anything to believe that it wasn’t,” Amodeo said.

But it was during that second visit that police say Coffin stabbed King in the neck multiple times.

Coffin was a “known subject in the investigation” even when police began looking into the King’s death earlier this month, Amodeo said. However, it was DNA evidence found at the scene of the crime and processed by Pinellas County Forensic Laboratories that linked the homicide back to him. Once the evidence was identified, detectives were able to quickly find Coffin and match the evidence to him enough to file charges.

The department has not released what kind of DNA evidence the forensics team found.

Coffin is a known homeless man in the Seminole area, Amodeo said. Largo police last arrested him for burglary with battery on Dec. 4, 2012. During that incident, Coffin reportedly entered an apartment uninvited and grabbed a woman by her neck, taking her down.

“If you call 911 or scream for your daughter, I’ll kill you,” he said, according to Largo’s report at the time.

The victim in that incident did scream and her daughter, a young adult, came in and was able to push Coffin off her mother, Amodeo said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested Coffin in July of that year on behalf of Hernando County, where he was wanted for aggravated assault, according to Pinellas County jail records. Sheriff’s deputies arrested him again in November 2012 for petit theft.

Largo police are still investigating the Feb. 20 shooting of Kristen Gannon, 41, who was shot in the leg by a man at the Fountains of Largo apartments. Investigators are looking for the suspect in that incident.

Coffin was booked into the Pinellas County Jail where he is being held without bond.
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