Jacksonville police have arrested a man and woman in connection with the killing of a man who was found dead in a Springfield home early Monday morning.
Police said Merienne Blake, who lives in the home on Clark Street, and Enrique Pajaro invited a drug dealer to the home Sunday night and were planning on robbing him.
Police said the dealer went to the home with crack cocaine and marijuana, and they said all three were doing drugs until the drug dealer fell asleep.
Officers said once the man fell asleep, Blake and Pajaro started beating him with their fists, but the man woke up and started fighting back. Police said the two suspects then tried to beat the man with a sledge hammer, but that didn't work either.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief Tom Hackney said Pajaro then strangled the victim to death.
Hackney said the two suspects called police, claiming there was a home invasion robbery. Police said once the two were brought in for questioning, they confessed to the killing. They are both charged with murder.
Blake has two children, including 3-year-old child who was at home at the time and witnessed some of the killing, police said.
The other child was with the father, and both are now with other relatives.
"It makes me sick to my stomach and I pray for the families and the people who were involved," Springfield resident Charles Hounshell said after the homicide.