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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Leesburg murder suspect tracked down at bar in Marion County

James Carlton
James Carlton

A murder suspect is in custody after allegedly shooting his daughter’s boyfriend in the head and leaving him by the side of the road in rural Leesburg.

James Carlton, 57, of Fruitland Park, was being held Thursday at the Marion County Jail on a charge of first-degree homicide. He had been nabbed Wednesday at the County Line Smokehouse and Spirits on County Road 25 in Marion County.

Austin Graham, 26, and a witness shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday were driving down Whitney Road near State Road 44, when Graham recognized Carlton’s vehicle, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The two vehicles stopped, and Graham got out to greet Carlton and had a short conversation with him, a witness told deputies.

After the brief conversation, Carlton shot the victim and fled the scene. Graham was transported to UF Health-Leesburg Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Carlton was found at a bar in Marion County and multiple law enforcement agencies responded and took him into custody without incident, according to LCSO.

Carlton is expected to be transferred to the Lake County Jail.

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