Two men have been arrested in the deaths of an elderly couple in Deerfield Beach, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.
Rosario Melici, 60, and Michael A. Marotta, 38, were charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Phil Russo, 88, and his wife Barbara, 78, whose bodies were found Monday evening by their daughter in their home at 2440 Deer Creek Country Club Boulevard, the BSO said.
Melici, of Lake Worth, was being held without bond early Friday. Marotta was also being held without bond, jail records showed.
According to arrest affidavits released Friday, Melici stabbed the Russos after they had been bound and had their mouths and heads covered.
Both bodies had blue painter's tape and jewelry normally worn by the couple was missing, the affidavits said.
When detectives questioned the Russos' daughter, she said her parents had told her that Melici, who was once married to Phillip Russo's niece, had stopped by the house, the affidavit said.
Melici, who was painter by trade, had offered to paint their home for free, which seemed strange to the daughter since they hadn't had normal contact with him, the affidavit said.
When detectives interviewed Melici, he admitted he knew the victims but said he went by their house a month before looking for work and wasn't let into the home by Phillip Russo, the affidavit said.
Melici, who had numerous bladed weapons on display in his home including swords and axes, said he hadn't been in Broward County in the past month, the affidavit said.
But when detectives checked his phone records, they found that his phone was activating on a cell tower just a few blocks from the murder scene the night the couple was killed, the affidavit said.
And when some of the painter's tape found at the scene was tested, the DNA was consistent with Melici, according to the affidavits.
After his arrest, Milici admitted to the robbery and murder and said he had help from Marotta, the affidavits said.
Marotta denied his involvement at first but later admitted to the crime, the affidavits said.
At a news conference Thursday, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel announced the arrest of Melici and said he targeted the couple.
"We pray for their family, I'm sorry that Deerfield Beach suffered this loss and your neighbors were murdered," Israel said. "It's a tragedy. As I said, it was not a random act of violence, these two unfortunate people were targeted and murdered."
The BSO said it arrested Melici, with the assistant of U.S. marshals and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, at a Lake Worth Walgreens at Dixie Highway and 10th Street, near his home on E Street.
“We're interviewing this arrested subject and we don't know where he's going to take us,” Israel said. “He might take us to other co-conspirators, he might say he acted alone."
Friends who knew the couple said they hope the arrests can bring closure to the family.
"They were lovely lovely people and this should never happen to anyone else and I hope that their family may have some kind of solace now," friend Rita Masi said.
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