A 74-year-old man is behind bars in Florida and charged with first-degree murder following a year-long investigation into the death of a man he allegedly admitted to poisoning and killing.
John Dennis Reeves, a UK national living in Greenacres, admitted, in his own words, to poisoning another “strong drinker” in his townhouse in March 2022, forcing the victim to take pills because he ” wouldn’t shut up” or stop making “humming” noises, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office statement.
The defendant allegedly admitted that he then drank and smoked in the residence with the body for days – from Saturday to the following Thursday – to pretend “it never happened.” The affidavit indicates even more damning admissions were made after the unidentified victim’s body was found in the downstairs bedroom of the townhouse, following a March 31, 2022 call for a welfare check.
A “disoriented and intoxicated” Reeves made a spontaneous statement “that the decedent was at the location where he was found dead,” the affidavit said. “During the interview with Reeves, he described himself and [the victim] as heavy drinkers, citing that they each drink approximately one bottle of Vodka daily,” the documents state.
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The alleged admissions only got more damning from here, and some of these apparently took place while Reeves was in the hospital:
Reeves explained [the victim] was drunk, making noises and wouldn’t shut up, so he gave pills to make him quiet. More specifically, Reeves remembered to give [the victim] pills around 21:00 and 23:30 so he stopped growling and making noises. The aforementioned pills were described to consist of both parts [the victim] and Reeves’ medicine. Reeves described putting the pills in his mouth and giving him a glass of vodka to consume the aforementioned pill(s). Reeves described [the victim] being drunk at this time and not resisting the pills he gave. When asked about his alcohol consumption, Reeves explained that he had been drinking twenty-four hours a day since Saturday.
Furthermore, Reeves made several spontaneous utterances while in the hospital, to include statements such as “I killed him” and “I poisoned him and I poisoned the dogs.”
During the course of the investigation, the sheriff’s office said, it was learned that the defendant told a nurse at the hospital that he was suicidal because he poisoned the victim. After investigators read Reeves his Miranda rights on April 1, 2022, at the hospital, the affidavit said, he admitted to poisoning the victim with pills to make him sleep as well as anti-anxiety medication. He also allegedly admitted to poisoning their dogs:
During the interview, Reeves explained that he (Reeves) accidentally poisoned their dogs, which contributed to a decline in the dogs’ health. Reeves explained that he was trying to kill [the victim] so he didn’t find out about the aforementioned situation with their dogs. Reeves remembered [the victim] last was alive Saturday night. Reeves explained that he checked further [the victim] and knew he was dead but didn’t contact first responders because he wanted to pretend [the victim] was alive a few days longer. Reeves explained that from Sunday to Thursday, he drank and smoked all day and pretended “it never happened.”
The suspect reportedly told authorities that he and the victim drank about “a bottle of vodka a day” in the weeks leading up to the murder.
Authorities said the medical examiner found on Nov. 14, 2022, that the victim died of mixed drug toxicity. Then, on March 8, 2023, “deputies received and reviewed the final report from the medical examiner’s office.” Reeves’ arrest followed Thursday afternoon.
Reeves remains jailed without bond in Palm Beach County. Records list public defender Scott Pribble as Reeves’ attorney.
An initial appearance was rescheduled for May 22, court records say.
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