The following is an excerpt from the probable cause portion of the affidavit charging 16-year-old Dillen Murray (DOB 10/25/1991) of 247 2nd Avenue North in Lake Wales, with 1 count first degree murder (Capital Felony), 1 count possession of marijuana (M-1), and 1 count possession of paraphernalia (M-1), in the homicide of 15-year-old Giovanni “Gio” Diaz of 153 Lake Caloosa Circle North in Lake Wales, who was an 8th grader at Frostproof Middle-High.
As a reminder and as described by Sheriff Judd this morning, the information in the first part of this
probable cause is the detailed and elaborate story the suspect first told detectives, determined to be lies after the suspect confessed. The second part of the affidavit is the information the suspect gave to detectives when he confessed, which also matches the evidence and the witness statements.
On Monday, March 19, 2018, at approximately 1451 hours, the defendant, Dillen Alex Murray, called 911 and advised he beat his friend with a baseball
bat; his friend was bleeding and lying in the woods.
Deputies responded to the wooded area to the east of Caloosa Blvd. and Lake Blvd. in Lake
Wales, FL, where they found the victim, Giovanni Diaz, unresponsive with severe facial trauma. The victim was declared deceased on March 19, 2018 at 1507 hours by Polk County Fire Rescue personnel. An aluminum Tee ball bat, which was dented and covered in blood, was found on the ground next to the victim’s body.
Contact was made with the defendant and his father, Paul Murray, outside the defendant’s residence. When the defendant was detained by deputies, he was found to have a clear plastic baggie containing
a green leafy substance, in his pants pocket. The green leafy substance emitted the odor of unburnt cannabis. The defendant and his father both consented to the defendant being transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Southeast Substation, to be interviewed.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homicide detectives responded to the aforementioned wooded
area, and observed the victim deceased in the woods. The victim was observed to have extensive blunt force trauma to the head, face, chest, and arms, consistent with being struck multiple times with a baseball bat.
During a post-Miranda interview, the defendant stated the victim approached him on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, and requested they meet up on Monday, March 19, 2018, to smoke cannabis in the woods. The defendant then stated when they approached the wooded area described above, the victim asked
the defendant if he wanted to play baseball after they smoked cannabis.
The defendant further stated he told the victim he had a baseball bat at home, at which time he went to retrieve the baseball bat. The defendant described the baseball bat as being a metal bat, silver in color, with “Tee ball” written on it. The bat was also described as being older with scratches, but no dents. Upon returning to the aforementioned wooded area, the defendant and the victim entered the woods. The defendant advised he sat on the ground and began to “roll a blunt” while the victim stated he needed to “pee”, and told the defendant not to turn around. The defendant then advised while he was “rolling the blunt”, the victim shouted that an ant bit him on his penis, and again told the defendant not to turn around.
At that time, the defendant advised he heard the victim step right behind him and heard the bat being picked up from the ground. As the defendant
turned around, he advised he observed the victim holding the bat with both hands, above his head, and was preparing to hit him (the defendant) on the head with the bat.
The defendant stated he raised his left arm to block the attack, resulting in the victim striking him on his left forearm. The defendant then stated he stood up and grabbed the bat, at which time the victim punched him in the right side of his face with a closed fist, while releasing his hold of the bat. The defendant further stated once he took the bat from the victim, the victim backed up and removed
a pair of light blue gloves he was wearing, throwing the gloves on the ground. The defendant also stated the victim began to charge him as if he was going to punch him. The defendant advised he swung the bat at the victim, striking the victim in the left side of his face, causing the victim to stagger backward. The defendant then advised his “blood began to boil” and he “wanted to kill him”, at which time he struck the victim six times in the victim’s head and face. The victim then fell to the ground, and the defendant struck the victim three additional times; once in the “windpipe”, once in the nose, and once on top of the head. The defendant further advised he realized what he had done, threw down the bat, grabbed the gloves the
victim had been wearing, and ran out of the woods to get help.
When asked why the victim would want to attack him, the defendant stated approximately two weeks prior, the victim tried to show him a Rubik’s Cube, but he (the defendant) told him it was “lame”. The defendant then stated approximately two years prior, the victim “f******” a girl he (the defendant) liked, but he was unable to advise why that would cause the victim to want to attack him.
During this investigation, Det. Fulcher conducted interviews with several known acquaintances of the defendant and the victim. Det. Fulcher learned the defendant had recently found out, within the last several days, the victim had sexual intercourse with a girl the defendant had feelings for and had dated in the past.
Det. Fulcher also conducted sworn audio-recorded interview with a known acquaintance of the defendant,
who stated on Sunday, March 18, 2018, the defendant told them he wanted to know what it was like to kill somebody.
When confronted with this information, the defendant stated approximately one week prior to March 19, 2018, the victim and the defendant were smoking cannabis in the woods, when the victim told him he “f******” the girl he was “in love with”. The defendant then stated this angered him. On March 19, 2018, the defendant stated he and the victim went to the woods to “talk”. The defendant then stated the victim was talking about how he “f*****” the girl the defendant was in love with. The defendant advised he pointed the bat at the victim and told him to stop talking about the girl he loved, and the victim called
him a “p*****” and told him he was not scared. The defendant then advised he struck the victim in the head with the bat, and then continued to strike the victim in the head until the victim fell to the ground. While the victim was lying on the ground, the defendant continued to strike the victim in the face and head. The defendant advised he wanted to make sure the victim was not going to talk bad about the girl he loves anymore, which is why he struck the victim in the face while the victim was lying on the ground.
During the interview with the defendant, it was noted he did not have any injuries consistent with being punched in the face or being struck with a bat in the forearm.
During a search of the victim’s cellphone, multiple messages were observed sent to the victim from the
defendant. On March 19, 2017 at approximately 1027 hours, the defendant sent the victim a text message stating, “Yo…Meet me at rocks after school so we can chill”, to which the victim responds with “Ight”. On March 19, 2017 at approximately 1412 hours, the defendant sent the victim thirteen text messages, asking the victim where he was and if he was close to “the rocks”. The victim did not send any text message response to the defendant during that time.
Based on my interviews and investigation, I determined the defendant committed the criminal offense of 1st degree murder, when the defendant intentionally and with a premeditated design to kill, struck the victim multiple times with a metal bat, which resulted in the death of the victim. The defendant then committed the criminal offense of possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, when the defendant possessed the cannabis in a clear plastic baggie in his pants pocket.
Update 7:48pm: Sheriff Grady Judd advised that around 3pm, today, two boys went into the wooded area off Caloosa Blvd. In Unincorporated Lake Wales. One boy, Dillen Murray 10/25/01, beat another boy, Giovanni Diaz, to death with a bat. A witness saw Murray leaving the woods and allegedly told them he “wailed” on his friend with a bat. The witness to Murray to go home and call 911. The witness went into the woods and found Diaz lifeless body. Murray meanwhile went and called 911, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Murray has a past of assault charges for battering Diaz in the past. A motive has not been confirmed yet, nor is it clear if this was homicide or if it was self defense.
We will update more as information is made available.
Update From PCSO: In response to your inquiries, the PCSO Homicide Unit
is investigating a suspicious death on Caloosa Blvd, cross street Lake
Blvd, in Lake Wales, this afternoon (Monday, March 19, 2018).
Judd is heading to the scene and will brief the media at the media staging
area, which is the Kangaroo Store located at US Hwy 27 and 1st Avenue North
in Lake Wales (near Warner University). If you will please head that way,
the PIOs will meet you there. The media briefing will not occur until
after 6:00 p.m., as it will take time for Sheriff Judd to arrive and gather
The area where the death occurred is near a mobile
home park and the suspect is in custody.
Lake Wales, Florida – The Polk County Sheriffs Office is currently conducting a death investigation in Unincorporated Lake Wales. The scene of the investigation is right off Caloosa Lake Dr. which is South of the City of Lake Wales. The sheriff’s department has brought in the mobile command center & the forensic trailer. According to witnesses a body was found in a wooded area, just off Caloosa Lake Dr. It is unknown when this occurred exactly, but the area became quite active around 3:40pm.
According to Carrie Hortsman, Public Information Officer with the Polk County Sheriffs Office, a death investigation is underway, but no further details are available. We will update the article as more information is available.