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Police: Feud over girl led to deadly stabbing

19-year-old dies after stabbing; 22-year-old charged with murder

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – A 19-year-old stabbed to death early Monday morning had been “feuding over a girl” with the 22-year-old man accused of killing him, according to police.

Thomas Clyde Erdmann, who was found on the driveway of his home on Tarpon Avenue about 3:25 a.m., was taken to Baptist Nassau, then transferred to UF Health Jacksonville, where he died.

The Fernandina Beach police have charged Zachary Fila, of Yulee, with Erdmann's murder.

According to police, the woman who sparked the feud between Fila and Erdmann was Fila's girlfriend.

Fila's arrest report said police stopped a woman, who was not the girlfriend, on Fletcher Avenue after the stabbing and Fila was in the passenger seat. In the trunk of the car was a bag filled with bloody clothing, a towel, and blood-stained shoes, police said. Police went to the woman's home and found blood on the door handle, on a bottle of bleach and on a bleach-soaked rag in the trash.

Fila was arrested and has been ordered held without bond pending a Jan. 5 arraignment.

Erdmann's father, Thomas Erdmann, said the dispute happened just a few hours after his son broke up with his girlfriend.

"What started this? He broke up with his girlfriend. The guy threatened to come over here and kill him," Thomas Erdmann said.

Thomas Erdmann described Monday as one of the worst days of his life. 

"His stomach was slashed open. He had punctures ... through on the side, stabbed in his back," he said. "He hung onto life for almost 12 hours. His heart was still beating when his organs were dead. It was senseless."

The father said his energetic and happy first-born son had big dreams to join the U.S. Marine Corps and protect his country. 

"He was looking forward to going to Paris Island on the 21st in just two weeks, to serve his country. And now I'll be putting his USMC tag on my car."

And now, the father will begin planning his son's funeral.

"I'm burying my first son," Thomas Erdmann said, his voice thick with emotion.