Florida Man Charge With Murder for Killing Four Tenants

A landlord in Florida has been charged with murdering an entire family of four people and then burning their bodies in a fire pit in his backyard. 

Among the family members that Rory Atwood, 25, is alleged to have killed is a 5-year-old and 6-year-old. 

An affidavit from the Clark County Clerk’s office in Florida revealed that deputies from Pasco County started looking for members of the family on June 14 after they received a request for a welfare check.

The people they were looking for were Rain Mancini, 26, Phillip Zilliot II, 25, Karma Zilliot, 6, and Phillip Zilliot III, 5.

A concerned resident had called law enforcement after his brother told him that Atwood called him to request that he help him burn some trash. The brother then told the resident that he saw there was a puddle of blood and could see adult and child bodies” over a video call.

Police then went to the home of Atwood in Hudson, Florida, and the landlord told officers he had “no knowledge” of the family’s whereabouts. Atwood said that the family left the property a day earlier, on June 12.

But, police received a call one day later from someone who said Atwood “admitted to killing his roommates and their children,” according to the affidavit.

Investigations then went back to speak with Atwood, who then said he kicked the family out of the house because they hadn’t paid their rent. The family still had their belongings inside the home they rented, though.

Police conducted a search of the property, during which they saw an uncovered fire pit that had burned debris near its base. Officials said that they brought in a cadaver dog, which pulled “small skeletal remains,” two human vertebrae and soft tissue from the fire pit.

According to the affidavit, officers also smelled a “strong odor” of chlorine near the front porch of the home.

Later, Atwood told police detectives that he evicted the family back on June 1 due to rent they did not pay. However, the family “unexpectedly” returned to the home on the night of June 12.

The landlord said that the couple entered his bedroom with knives. He was in there with his 4-year-old daughter at the time, he said.

Atwood then claimed that he got into a fight with Zilliot II, while Mancini poked Atwood’s daughter’s neck with the knife.

The landlord then said he pulled out a gun, and Mancini was shot multiple times as they struggled for the weapon. He claimed that he redirected the gun toward Zilliot II then and pulled the trigger, which killed him.

Atwood “did not disclose” how the two children died, according to the affidavit, but he claimed the parents killed them both. 

He’s then alleged to have dragged all four of the family members, a couch that was covered in blood and the gun that was used to the fire pit, where he burned everything.

Atwood is claiming self-defense in the case, but detectives aren’t buying in. As the affidavit points out:

“During a post-Miranda interview, the defendant admitted to involvement in the death of both adult victims, and he admitted to knowledge that both juveniles were also burned in the same fire pit.”

So far, Atwood has been charged with first-degree murder and some other related crimes.

He’s pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond, court records show.