Port Richey neighborhood reacts to brutal murder - FOX 13 News

Port Richey neighborhood reacts to brutal murder

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The victim's teenage son found his mother's body on the floor of the living room in this Port Richey home. The victim's teenage son found his mother's body on the floor of the living room in this Port Richey home.
PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) -

Gayle Schmatz was awakened early Saturday by the sound of a blood-curdling scream emitting from a home in her Port Richey neighborhood.

It was the kind of sound normally associated with a horrific incident.

"They were yelling can somebody help me?" Schmatz recalled. "Is anybody out here? Can somebody help me?"

The person asking those questions was the 17-year-old son of her neighbor Kelly Bennett. The young man returned to his home on Wolcott Lane just before 1 a.m. Saturday. When he did he found the body of his 35-year-old mother lying on the floor of the living room.

She had been brutally killed. The teen allegedly told neighbors that Bennett's throat had been cut.

"His [the teen] hands were bloody as you can imagine," added Paul Schmatz.

Pasco County detectives questioned and arrested Steven Robert Clairmont Jr. for the crime. Investigators say the 40-year-old man is a handyman who has been living with Bennett and her son for approximately three weeks.

In an unusual twist, just minutes before the teen found Bennett's body a driver called 9-1-1 after seeing Clairmont walking about a mile away from the crime scene. The caller said Clairmont was covered from head to toe with blood.

According to the suspect's arrest report he confessed to killing Bennett.

"Mr. Clairmont did confess in the interview," said Melanie Snow, Public Information Officer with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. "He did say he'd committed this crime."

On Saturday Snow's thoughts were on the victim's son.

"I can only imagine how horrific it must have been for him to come home last night and find his mother like that," Snow said.

So far no motive has been established. When deputies took the suspect into custody he was in possession of Bennett's cell phone and a prescription pill bottle belonging to her son.

The victim's neighbors say Saturday morning's tragic turn of events will stay with them for a while.

"I'm very shaken up," explained Michele Deltufo. "I want to move; the neighborhood is not safe anymore."       

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