Man arrested after stabbing in Starke

Bradford County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Stephen Lamont Early Jr.
Bradford County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Stephen Lamont Early Jr.

STARKE, Fla. – Police from Starke said early Sunday morning they received a call to the Magnolia Hotel located in Starke for a person being stabbed in the back parking lot.

The Starke Police Department arrived on scene just before 4 a.m. to find the unresponsive victim. The Starke Fire Department and Bradford County Rescue also helped in the response to the scene. The male Quinton Maurice Epps age 27 who had been stabbed was pronounced deceased at the scene a short time later.

Officer Johns the responding officer made contact with the caller who told police the victim was last seen fleeing the area on foot. The K-9 unit was unable to track the suspects location. While at the scene police were able to find additional evidence that showed the victim and the caller were in a domestic relationship.

Investigator Mark Lowery took the caller Stephen Lamont Early Jr. to the Starke Police Department and says the he is now a possible suspect. While interviewing Stephen the suspect confessed to being in a domestic relationship with the victim and to having a verbal argument with the victim. The confession told to police stated the suspect admitted to also stabbing the man in the left chest area.

The injury to the victim was consistent with the confession and a small serrated steak knife was also located at the scene.

After the police interview Early Jr. he was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder and booked into the Bradford County Jail.

The FDLE Crime Scene Unit continued to process the hotel, and the Medical Examiners office took the deceased to Gainesville for an autopsy. The family of the victim has been notified.