Florida Keys

The robbery of a treehouse turns deadly with the slashing of a good Samaritan

Two more men, one from Key West and one from Marathon, were arrested Wednesday night in connection with a homicide last Friday on Stock Island. That brings to three the number of men charged in the stabbing death of Mathew Bonnet, 59, during a botched robbery.
Two more men, one from Key West and one from Marathon, were arrested Wednesday night in connection with a homicide last Friday on Stock Island. That brings to three the number of men charged in the stabbing death of Mathew Bonnet, 59, during a botched robbery.

Two more men, one from Key West and one from Marathon, were arrested Wednesday night in connection with a homicide last Friday on Stock Island.

That brings to three the number of men charged in the stabbing death of Mathew Bonnett, 59, during a botched robbery.

Franklin Tucker, 46, of Key West is charged with two counts of armed robbery, one count of felony murder, two counts of wearing a mask while committing a felony, three counts of aggravated battery and with tampering with a witness. Following the crime, Tucker allegedly threatened someone who was cooperating with detectives in their investigation, which led to the tampering charge, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

John Johnson, 39, of Marathon, reportedly the planned getaway driver, is charged with two counts of robbery and with felony murder.

Rory Wilson, 49, of Stock Island was arrested Wednesday morning. He's charged with murder, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of committing a second-degree felony while wearing a mask.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says Bonnett was a good Samaritan intervening when Paula Belmonte, 53, was being robbed by Tucker and Wilson while Johnson waited in his pickup truck outside. It went down at Belmonte’s home at 5650 Laurel Ave.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay said Belmonte’s home is a tree house. “Yes, it was a tree house,” he said.

Agency spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said investigation revealed Tucker, Johnson and Wilson planned the robbery after hearing there might be a large amount of cash at Belmonte’s home. Herrin said Johnson drove the two other men to the scene of the homicide in his black truck and waited for them outside.

Tucker and Wilson, dressed in black and wearing masks, went inside just after 8 p.m. and held at knifepoint Belmonte and a male friend who was visiting. During the robbery, Belmonte’s neck was slashed, police say. Tucker and Wilson fled and encountered Bonnett, who was going to help Belmonte after hearing the ruckus, on the stairs.

“They got into an altercation with him during which Bonnett was stabbed multiple times,” the sheriff’s office says. He later died of his injuries.

Johnson, who was sitting in his truck outside during the robbery, saw someone running from the residence yelling “Police, police” and “decided not to wait any longer and he took off,” Herrin said.

Detectives followed up on numerous leads in the case and credit tips to Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys “as instrumental” in their investigation. Also, Belmonte was able to identify one of the two suspects as Wilson by his voice and how he walks.

Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218

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