Three Largo men face murder charges in shooting of Oldsmar man

From left, Kleatis D. Webb Jr., Eric Pasquale Melucci, and Jason James Botes are being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail on first-degree murder charges.

OLDSMAR — Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives arrested three Largo men in connection with an August shooting of an Oldsmar man.

Detectives with the Robbery & Homicide Unit arrested Kleatis D. Webb Jr., 37, on Sept. 5; and Eric Pasquale Melucci, 34, and Jason James Botes, 32, on Sept. 6. All three were charged with first-degree murder. Melucci also had a warrant for possession of cocaine, and Botes was charged with driving while license suspected or revoked, third offense. All three are being held without bail.

Deputies responded to a call about an armed person at a residence on Shore Boulevard in Oldsmar about midnight on Aug. 22. When deputies arrived, they found James Knoll Jr., 35, inside his residence suffering from a gunshot wound to his head. Deputies pronounced Knoll dead at the scene.

Detectives began an investigation and found out that two unidentified subjects wearing masks, dressed in all black, and carrying rifles had attempted to commit a home invasion at the residence. During the robbery attempt, Knoll was shot by one of the armed subjects. After the shooting, the men fled the scene in a Ford F-150 truck.

Upon further investigation, that lasted more than two weeks, detectives identified three Largo men as the suspects.

Detectives say they were able to confirm that Webb, Melucci and Botes drove to Knoll's residence on Aug. 22 with the intent to commit a home invasion robbery. The men put on masks, wore dark clothing, gloves, and armed themselves with AR-15 styled .223 caliber rifles.

Detectives say a struggle ensued during the robbery attempt and Knoll was shot through the front door of his residence.

Detectives say Botes knew the victim and the robbery attempt was narcotics related.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Creaser in the Robbery & Homicide Unit at 727-582-5803.