Broward County

Four charged in death of man found in Fort Lauderdale river

David Fitzgerald Harrison and Ashley Serrano Barrientos
David Fitzgerald Harrison and Ashley Serrano Barrientos Broward County Sheriff’s Office

Police arrested and charged two men and two women in the death of a man who was found floating in a Fort Lauderdale river earlier this week.

David Harrison, 24, and Ashley Barrientos, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, were charged with murder and booked into the Broward County Main Jail on Tuesday after a police investigation revealed that the two had an “ongoing dispute” with the victim and had “made threats towards him,” Fort Lauderdale police said in a statement. On Wednesday, police identified two additional suspects, Debraysia Fulton, 17, and Jean Cyma, 19, both of Fort Lauderdale, and charged both with one count of murder.

At around 7 a.m. on Monday, police received a call from a kayaker about a body floating face down in the Middle River waterway inside George English Park in the 1100 block of Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale.

The victim was identified as 60-year-old Jerome P. Harte of Fort Lauderdale. A preliminary examination revealed that he had “lacerations and what appeared to be head trauma to his face,” according to a police report.

A homeless man who lives in the park and knows Harrison and Harte told police that the defendants threatened to beat Harte and throw him and his belongings into the water on Sunday, Jan. 4, according to the report. Later that night, they woke up the man while he was sleeping in the park and told him that “they all had to get out of the park right away,” the report said.

A Fort Lauderdale Police Department dive team recovered some of Harte’s possessions from the water near a dock where part of his prescription glasses was found.

Harrison’s mother called police Tuesday and told them that her son and Barrientos had confessed to participating in the murder, according to the police report.

The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Harte’s death a homicide. “Detectives do not believe that Harte was targeted due to his homeless lifestyle,” according to the police statement.

Harrison, Barrientos and Cyma were being held without bond.