Prosecutors have charged Michael “Romeo” Hagan, 25, of Auburndale, with second-degree murder for the death of his girlfriend, Alicia McDonald, as well as with tampering with physical evidence, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Police say Hagan shot McDonald in the face, killing her.
McDonald, 22, was laid to rest yesterday, about a week after her body was found inside her 2007 blue Suzuki.
Details of the arrest were provided by the State Attorney’s Office about the investigation, and they say McDonald’s family described her relationship with Hagan as tumultuous.
Some friends and family members noticed bruises and abrasions upon her body, but McDonald would minimize how Hagan had caused the injuries.
McDonald’s roommates reported her missing in the early morning hours of Feb. 7. A trail of blood led from McDonald’s bedroom to the garage, and her vehicle was gone.
A deputy patrolling the area found the Suzuki abandoned outside a residence on Varner Drive. McDonald was covered in blood and lying in the passenger seat.
An autopsy revealed she had been shot once, with the entrance wound entering the right side of her chin.
Deputies tracked Hagan to the Tower View Motel in Lake Wales and during a standoff, he threw a loaded .357-caliber revolver out of the hotel window, one shell casing was empty.
Once investigators interviewed Hagan he said that he didn’t shoot McDonald, but that she shot herself with the revolver during an argument.
Hagan said they were arguing about “his lack of interest and involvement in their relationship,” according to a plice affidavit, and said that during the argument he had gloves on while loading and unloading the firearm.
He also said that he reloaded the gun the last time because he thought Alicia had calmed down, however; he would not answer questions concerning why he had gloves on or where the gloves were at this time.”
Hagan said McDonald grabbed the firearm from the bed, pointed it toward her face, and he wasn’t able to knock it away before it discharged.
Three witnesses told detectives that they saw Hagan shortly after the shooting and that they saw that he was covered in blood and had a revolver.
One witness recalled Hagan saying McDonald shot herself when he left the room and another witness said he told her that McDonald pointed the firearm at him before turning the gun on herself and pulling the trigger.
Police say they found the body of 21-year-old Alicia N. McDonald inside a car in Winter Haven.
Officials say McDonald’s roommates woke up to use the restroom at about 2 a.m. and noticed blood in their house on Sunshine Way SW, and also noticed that McDonald as well as her car were not in the home.
They then spent the next two hours looking for her by making phone calls and when they couldn’t find her, they drove to the Winter Haven Police Department at 4 a.m. to report her missing.
At around 5:15 a.m., a deputy on patrol found McDonald’s reported missing car parked at the end of a cul-de-sac on Varner Drive in Winter Haven; when he looked inside, he found her dead inside the vehicle in the passenger seat.
Neighbors from both locations talked about trouble between McDonald and a man, and the report says a couple of weeks ago neighbor Susan Merritt believes she saw a man abuse McDonald in a car.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.