Detectives seek information in Lake City cold case

Store clerk murdered in 1971

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – Columbia County detectives are asking for the public's help in solving a cold case robbery and murder from more than 40 years ago.

Detectives said in the early morning hours of July 30, 1971, two men went to the Standard Oil Service Station in Lake City, stole money from the cash register and put a clerk and customer in the office area. 

One of the men shot the clerk and customer in their legs.

The clerk, Mark Brotherton, died at the scene. The customer survived.

The customer told investigators his vehicle had broken down on the interstate that night and was towed to the gas station at the intersection of I-10 and Highway 441 North by "two long haired boys driving a Volkswagen van."

It was possibly cream colored with black curtains and a Budweiser label in the back window.

The men who towed the customer are not the suspects.

The police report stated the men told investigators they were traveling to "La," which could be Louisiana or Los Angeles.

They told the customer they planned to stop in Panama City.

The two men stayed for a few minutes, then the suspects arrived around that time. The suspects did not take any actions until the men in the van left.

Detectives want to identify the two men in the van as potential witnesses. 

If you have information about this case, the men in the van or the suspects, call the Columbia County Sheriff's Office Detective Division at 386-758-1095 or Crime Stoppers at 386-754-7099.