Cops: Man held in slaying admitted to 2nd murder

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 1:15 PM EDT

A 37-year-old man charged in a man's murder told a witness he'd killed another person, leading to the discovery of a body on the same street where the first man's body was found, according to the Orlando Police Department.

  • Man charged with murder admitted to 2nd murder, Orlando Police say
  • Both killings appear to have happened at homes on the same street
  • Jimmy Gary Merritt charged with 1st-degree murder with a firearm

Jimmy Gary Merritt is being held without bond and is charged with first degree murder with a firearm in the death of Benny Clyde Hallmark, 64.

According to Orlando Police detectives, firefighters found Hallmark's body on the morning of Friday, Oct. 20, lying in a reclining chair in a home on the 3100 block of Lauressa Lane. A medical examiner ruled Hallmark's death a homicide.

Detectives investigating the case said Merritt tried to cash three of Hallmark's checks and found probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for Merritt on several economic crimes charges.

On Tuesday, detectives learned that Merritt admitted to someone that he'd killed another person, they said. According to the witness, Merritt said he buried that person in the backyard of a home.

Based on new information, patrol officers went to a home on the 3000 block of Lauressa Lane to hold it for a search warrant. While there, Merritt walked out from around a corner, and he was arrested on an outstanding warrant, police said.

While serving the search warrant at the home, police said they found a badly decomposed body wrapped in plastic and blankets under a pile of items from the garage. The identity of the body and an official cause of death have not been released.

Charges in the death of the person whose body was found Tuesday are pending the completion of the Medical Examiner's report, police said.