Last week, the Orange/Osceola County Joint Homicide Investigation Team (JHIT) arrested Paul V. Neff in Winter Park for the murder of his roommate Sean Van Davis. The two men lived in the Errol Villas Condominiums when the shooting occurred. It was the latest step in an investigative process that began in early November. The Apopka Voice will tell this tragic, bizarre and violent story in a five part series entitled "The Errol Shooting". The series will explore the roots of the volatile three-year relationship between Neff and Davis... where they met, why they came to Apopka, what led to the shooting, and finally the evidence the JHIT team collected that contradicts Neff’s claim of self-defense that ultimately caused the State Attorney to charge Neff with first degree murder.
Part One: The 911 call
Errol Estate is a quiet golf community of homes with well-kept yards, centuries-old pine trees and rolling hills in Apopka. It was established 40 years ago, and in a time that neighborhoods seem to re-invent themselves every few years, Errol has remained a constant. Most everyone knows each other, and strangers, transients or passers-thru are a rarity.
That’s why the events of November 5th, 2015 are so shocking to Errol Estate, and all of Apopka.
Paul Neff and Sean Van Davis were roommates at the Errol Golf Villas, a quaint set of condominiums that sit right off the first fairway of the Apopka Golf and Tennis Club at Errol. At some point that evening, Neff shot and killed Davis. He later claimed self-defense, but the details of this event make this arguably the most fascinating murder case in recent Apopka history.
On November 5, 2015, at approximately 8:30 pm, the Apopka Police Department Communications Center received a 911 call from Paul Neff who stated he shot his roommate who he said “violently tried to kill me.” Neff, herein referred to as the defendant, gave the address of 1050 Villa Lane, Apopka, Florida.
According to the 911 call, the defendant stated, “I just shot him. He came in violent; I was in bed sleeping.” When the dispatcher asked who the defendant shot, the defendant stated, “Supposedly my roommate who came in violently, trying to kill me.” When the dispatcher asked why he shot him, the defendant stated, “Because he was attacking me.”
APD Dispatcher Rodrina Philips instructed the defendant to exit the residence with his hands visible for the approaching police officers. APD Lieutenant John McConnel, Officer Stephen Minchey, Officer Stephen Tapscott, and Officer Mark Creaser arrived on location and secured the defendant into handcuffs pending a further investigation.
Officer Ashley Eller and Officer Matthew Reinhardt arrived on scene to monitor the defendant. Lieutenant John McConnel, Officer Stephen Minchey, and Officer Stephen Tapscott entered the residence. The officers located a male, later identified as Sean Davis, herein referred to as the decedent, in the master bedroom. The decedent was not breathing and had what appeared to be an injury to his left chest area. Apopka Fire Department arrived on the scene to assess the decedent. Paramedic Scott Harrell performed the assessment of the decedent. Based on obvious signs of death, no life-saving procedures were taken and the decedent was pronounced dead.
Tomorrow: Part Two - Neff and Davis meet three years ago in Jacksonville
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