A Sebring man was found guilty earlier this month of shooting and killing his roommate in 2016 then stealing his Lexus with the man’s body in the trunk.
Michael Celello was convicted of second degree murder with a firearm, grand theft and tampering with evidence. Celello, 59, faces life in prison.
Celello dumped the body of Michael Cerillo in the Everglades off Alligator Alley after shooting him five times in his bed at their home in Sebring.
The two often argued.
Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin told jurors that Celello had become irritated with Cerillo’s constant criticism of him.
Celello reached a breaking point after the latest argument on the night of June 28, 2016.
He grabbed a gun under the couch, walked to the bedroom and shot Cerillo then wrapped his body in a sheet and loaded it into in the back of the Lexus. On the way to the Everglades, he picked up a friend then headed to the swamp to dump the body.
After dumping the body, Celello stopped at a service plaza in Broward County. His friend, passed a note to an employee at the station, asking him to call the police because she had just seen her friend dump a body in the Everglades.
The clerk called the Miccosukee Police Department and an officer later stopped the Lexus and arrested Celello.
On Saturday, jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Celello guilty. Circuit Judge Peter Estrada will sentence Celello in the coming weeks.
State Attorney Brian Haas thanks all law enforcement agencies, including the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, and Assistant State Attorney Houchin for their work on the case.