The 20-year-old man charged with first-degree murder in a brutal attack at a 7-Eleven made his first appearance in court Thursday morning.
What detectives are determining now is if, in fact, he was working alone Wednesday, when the sheriff's office says he attacked and killed a 54-year-old store clerk.
Lawrence Robert Bongiovanni was denied bond. He's being held in the Charlotte County Jail after deputies tracked him down on foot.
Two of his friends, 25-year-old Russell Beasley and 23-year-old Brandan Green, may be crucial to the case. They were detained along Fruitville Road in Sarasota and released after being questioned.
Deputies tracked them down by following a trail of lottery tickets. The sheriff's office says Bongiovanni made off with lottery tickets from the 7-Eleven after he attacked Kenneth Redding.
Deputies say it was a brutal, premeditated attack, and right now, they're still unsure what his exact motive was.
"There's going to be sometimes where there just isn't a motive in this case," said Larry McKinnon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "It's just pure evil, pure meanness, killing someone for the sport of it. We've seen that in society. This may be one of those cases."
Sheriff David Gee said Bongiovanni hid in the store until the clerk thought he was alone, and then attacked. He said he hadn't seen many crimes like it.
"From 35 years of experience, it is too graphic to release to you," Gee said. "This was a very brutal, premeditated attack."
Right now, Beasley and Green don't face any charges. Detectives are still trying to determine their involvement. They told detectives they picked Bongiovanni up down the road from the 7-Eleven immediately following the attack.
Bongiovanni was caught on surveillance cameras cashing in on the lottery tickets. He will make a first appearance for a separate crime in Seminole before coming back to Hillsborough County.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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