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Sunday, January 08, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Tampa Neighbor Charged Month After Teen's Slaying


TAMPA, Fla. -- A youth minister was charged with strangling his 13-year-old neighbor, about a month after the teen's body was discovered in a park, authorities said.

Joshua Rosa, 19, was arrested Friday at his job at a Sports Authority after DNA evidence linked him to the slaying of Stephen Tomlinson, the Hillsborough County's sheriff's office said. Rosa was being held without bail on a murder charge. He made his initial court appearance Saturday, but it was not known if he had an attorney, a jail official said.

<--- Stephen Tomlinson

Rosa lived across the street from Tomlinson for four years, and both teens attended the same church in Citrus Park. Detectives said witnesses saw him leaving a neighborhood park on Dec. 8, the night of Tomlinson's death.

Detectives said Tomlinson's blood was found on Rosa's hands and on a pair of white gloves and fingernail clippers which Rosa was carrying. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said the clippers were probably used to "remove evidence."

Rosa gave several misleading statements when detectives interviewed him, and he had been under constant surveillance for the past weeks, Gee said.

A motive was unclear, Gee said, adding that the boy's clothes were in disarray and there was evidence of a struggle.

Ron Tomlinson, the victim's father, said he had always trusted Rosa in the past. When asked Friday what he would say to Rosa now, Tomlinson said, "I hope you burn in hell."

Previous Story:
December 9, 2005: 13-Year-Old Found Slain In Tampa Park


UPDATE, July 21, 2008, on CNN