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Posted: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Murder suspect caught near Oxford

NCSO, U.S. Marshals nab man accused of 1987 rape, homicide

 Deputies with the Newton County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Marshals Department arrested fugitive Tony Fantauzzi Dec. 17 at a residence on Boogers Hill Road in Oxford. Fantauzzi was wanted for a 1987 rape and murder of a woman at a mall in St. Petersburg, Fla.

 The victim was found dead near the mall. She had been raped and strangled. According to Alex Camacho, an investigator with the U.S. Marshal Service, Fantauzzi had been a suspect in the case, but there was not enough evidence to charge him then. However, with advances in forensic science, in 2007 DNA evidence linked Fantauzzi to the crime.

Authorities in Florida contacted the Newton County Sheriff’s Department to ask for assistance in capturing Fantauzzi because they discovered he had an address listed in Covington. The suspect had a warrant in Newton County for violating his parole in a DWI case, and also a parole warrant from Hillsborough County, Fla. for dealing in stolen property.

"The guys from Florida saw that when they ran his name through the system he was wanted in Newton County and they contacted Newton County and requested assistance in trying to locate him," Camacho said.

In May, the U.S. Marshals Service was called in to assist in the capture. Camacho said the service is usually contacted when there are violent crimes involved.

"At this time, a warrant (for the murder) for him had not been issued, but he was a suspect. Because of the allegations, we adopted the case," Camacho said.

Fantauzzi was arrested May 16 and transferred back to Florida, where he appeared in court. In August, he was released two days before the warrant for the murder was issued. Authorities believed he returned to the Covington area.

Fantauzzi is being held in the Newton County Detention Center. He is charged with felony murder. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.

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