Following a countywide manhunt, a Milton man was arrested Monday night on a warrant for murder when a childhood friend saw him in traffic and called authorities.
Twenty-two-year-old Zachary Vince Greer is accused of stabbing Harvey Ray Smith, 43, Pace, to death in Molino on Saturday. It happened after Smith was lured by a text message to the home of an acquaintance. Deborah Leann Burge, 22, told investigators the original plan was for Greer to rob Smith. Upon his arrival, reports say the victim gave Greer and the woman a ride to the store. When they returned to the home of Burge, Escambia Sheriff's reports say she went inside and when she came back out, she found Smith on the ground, bleeding. Greer allegedly told her he killed the man, but she says Smith was making sounds. The report says Smith received a fatal stab wound to the heart, which is what killed him, according to Escambia officials.
Officials say after Greer cleaned blood from his hands, from Smith's black Mercedes, and then put the dead body of Smith into the trunk, Burges grabbed her two children and they all went to the Motel 6 in Smith's car. There, they stayed the night and left Sunday, abandoning the Mercedes in the parking lot with Smith dead in the trunk, reports say.
Burge reportedly had taken a cell phone, iPod Nano, and a laptop belonging to the victim on the way to the Motel 6, but Greer threw the items out the window while they were driving. Hundreds of dollars was later reported missing from the car, officials say, along with the items described by Burge.
Smith was found in the trunk after his family notified Santa Rosa authorities over the weekend he was missing. When they went looking for him on their own, they spotted his car at the Motel 6 and discovered his body.
Following an investigation, Burges was arrested Sunday by Escambia County Sheriff's officials and charged with felony murder and robbery. She is being held on no bond. On Monday, investigators in Pensacola were looking for Lauren Dianne Rockwell, Pace for questioning. She turned herself in to Escambia County Sheriff's Officials that afternoon. During her interrogation, Sheriff's officials released information that Greer was believed to be in Santa Rosa County, driving a red Ford Focus. Local television and newspaper media got the information out to the public about the vehicle and that Greer was to be considered armed, dangerous, and unapproachable—to call 911 if he was spotted. One person did just that and at 7:25 p.m. Monday, Sheriff's deputies converged on Greer and the red Ford Focus at the Circle K convenience store and gas station on the corner of Dogwood Dr. and Willard Norris Rd.
Eyewitness David Howington says when arrived at the station to get gas, Greer was already out of his car and looked over at him.
"We made eye contact," Howington says. "He looked over as soon as I got out of my car. I had just seen his face on the news, but I didn't realize who he was. He didn't even make it to the back of his trunk when they had him."
Howington says Greer surrendered without a fight. "There were lots of guns. He knew he was caught. The deputy did a good job. He immediately arrested him and put him in the back of the squad car."
After Greer was taken into custody, Howington says a deputy yelled instructions to a second person in the vehicle who remains unidentified at this time.
"I got back in my car," Howington says. "I was more worried about getting shot (in crossfire). I just wanted to let the police do their job, which they did. They had it under control and got him in a matter of seconds."
Greer is in the Santa Rosa County jail on a hold for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
There is no bond.