Florida Man Charged with Murder After Losing $3,500 to Victim in Card Game

  • Victim’s body found in burned car in woods, last seen with suspect Michael Psilakis 
  • Psilakis had burn blister on shin, tried to coordinate alibi with mother
  • He texted witness saying he was going to kill victim after card game defeat
  • Shell casing matched weapon found in murder suspect’s car
yellow crime scene tape in woods
Michael Psilakis of Pasco County, Florida is facing a murder charge for allegedly killing a man that won $3,500 off him while playing cards. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Suspect was last person seen with victim

A Pasco County, Florida man is in custody on murder charges stemming from the death of an unidentified man in late October. According to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, 21-year-old Michael Psilakis allegedly killed the victim after losing $3,500 to him in a couple of card games.

Psilakis was arrested just three days after the victim was killed. Sheriff’s deputies had little trouble linking him to the man’s death because Psilakis left a trail of evidence.

The victim was reportedly last seen on October 30 with Psilakis, driving a rented Ford Taurus. According to the arrest report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Psilakis told a deputy that the victim dropped him off at his mother’s house that night.

the deputy saw blood seeping through Psilakis’ sock

During the interview, the deputy saw blood seeping through Psilakis’ sock. Psilakis showed him a burn blister which he said was the result of his girlfriend throwing hot oil on him during an argument.

Damning text

A second witness gave law enforcement what looks to be the motive. He also provided a piece of evidence that is nearly the equivalent of an admission of guilt before the fact.

The witness said he, Psilakis, and the victim played cards on October 29. The victim won $1,000 from Psilakis that night, which didn’t sit well with Psilakis. The next day, Psilakis texted the witness to tell him he was going to play against the victim again. He followed that up with another text later to say he lost an additional $2,500.

More texts followed in which Psilakis asked the witness if he should kill the victim, adding a racial slur for good measure. The witness said he should not, but Psilakis later called the witness to say it was still under consideration.

Psilakis stumbles into an arrest

Within a couple of days since the start of the investigation, construction workers found the victim’s body in a burned car in the woods. About an hour after deputies saw the car on November 2, they went to Psilakis’ mother’s house to interview her. She said she found blood “smeared” in her garage.

Psilakis called his mother to try to coordinate an alibi

While deputies were interviewing her, Psilakis called his mother to try to coordinate an alibi to provide a plausible explanation for his leg burn. This time, his excuse was that he had “burned his legs when gas he threw on the car blew back on him.”

Deputies recorded the entire call. After the call, Psilakis arrived at his mother’s house. Deputies searched his car and found a stolen handgun, so they arrested him. They then went through his cell phone and found internet search queries such as “can u shoot through a seat” and “how to treat burns”.

Evidence piles up

A third witness informed deputies of $20,000 she found in a safe Psilakis used, as well as bloody underwear she found in her own washing machine. It was not specified what her relationship to Psilakis was.

Psilakis also texted her the night of October 30, the last night that anybody but Psilakis had seen the victim alive, saying “I just got 3 degree burn”.

One shell casing found at the burned car was intact enough to be tested. It was later found to be a match for the handgun in Psilakis’ car.

Psilakis is now incarcerated at the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center, facing murder, weapons, grand theft auto, and resisting arrest charges.

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