He’s accused of beating a toddler — and pawning mom’s stereo while the boy was dying

Luca Sholey
Luca Sholey

The man charged with abusing and killing his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son, is also facing theft charges after police say he stole her car stereo and laptop and pawned them while she was at the hospital with her dying son.

David Earl Vickers, 31, was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse on Thursday in the death of his then girlfriend’s son, Luca Sholey. He is being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.

Luca’s death was the result blunt trauma to his brain, according to an autopsy. At the time of his death, the toddler had bruises on his chest and six broken ribs at different stages of healing, however.

There appeared to have been two episodes of blunt-force trauma to his chest, the medical examiner and child protective team doctor ruled. Luca’s death also appeared to be asphyxia related.

Vickers was already in custody, however, when he was charged with killing and abusing Luca.

On Aug. 21, Vickers was taking care of Lucas and his 3-year-old sister while their mother, Melissa Wolfe, was at work. Vickers claimed he put the boy to bed and when he checked on him an hour later, he found him unresponsive.

Luca was rushed to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton and later taken to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he was declared brain dead and later died on Aug. 25. The boy had been kept alive an extra couple days so that his organs could be donated.

The boy’s organs helped save the lives of two girls and a 54-year-old man, according to his father, Eric Sholey.

But while Wolfe stayed at All Children’s with Luca in the boy’s last days alive, police say Vickers stole her car stereo and Apple laptop and then pawned them, according to warrant affidavits.

Wolfe returned to the home she shared with her children, Vickers and her father after Luca died on Aug. 25 to discover her missing stereo and computer, according to Hall’s report.

Vickers had taken the stereo from her car on Aug. 21, hours before Luca was rushed to the hospital, and pawned it for $30. Two days later, while she remained at the hospital with Luca, Vickers allegedly took her Apple Laptop with the charger and pawned them for $60.

He was charged with grand theft between $300 and $5,000, two counts of dealing in stolen property and two counts of obtaining money from a pawnbroker by fraud. The charges were formally filed by the State Attorney’s Office in September.

But police had first arrested Vickers on Aug. 24 after officers pulled him over because he was spotted driving, and officers knew his license was revoked, according to an arrest report. A marijuana blunt was found in the car after Vickers was handcuffed, so he was charged with possession of marijuana and driving with a revoked driver’s license.

Vickers had been released from prison on May 18 after serving less about two years and eight months of a four-year sentence for convictions of trafficking in stolen property and defrauding a pawnbroker, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

His other prior convictions include grand theft, two counts petit theft, accessory after the fact, two counts of driving while license suspended, possession of cannabis and attached tag not assigned.