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‘I poisoned him and I poisoned the dogs’: UK man in Florida blurted out ‘I killed him’ after drinking ‘twenty four hours a day’ with dead body at townhouse, affidavit says

John Reeves

John Reeves (Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)

A 74-year-old man is behind bars in Florida and charged with first-degree murder after a year-long probe into the death of a man he allegedly admitted poisoning and killing.

John Dennis Reeves, a citizen of the United Kingdom living in Greenacres, admitted, in his own words, to poisoning a fellow “heavy drinker” at his townhouse in March 2022, forcing the victim to take pills because he “would not shut up” or stop making “growling” noises, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office affidavit.

The defendant allegedly admitted he then drank and smoked in the residence with the body for days — from Saturday to the following Thursday — to pretend “it never happened.” The affidavit indicates even more damning admissions were made after the unidentified victim’s body was found in the downstairs bedroom of the townhouse, following a March 31, 2022, call for a welfare check.

A “disoriented and intoxicated” Reeves made a spontaneous utterance “regarding the decedent being in the location where he was found deceased,” the affidavit said. “During the interview with Reeves, he described himself and [the victim] as heavy drinkers, citing they each drink approximately one bottle of Vodka daily,” the documents said.

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The alleged admissions only became more damning from here, and some of these apparently occurred while Reeves was in the hospital:

Reeves explained [the victim] was drunk, making noises and would not shut up, therefore he gave pills to make him quiet. More specifically, Reeves recalled giving [the victim] pills at about 9:00 PM and 11:30 PM so that he would stop growling and making noises. The aforementioned pills were described to consist of both [the victim] and Reeves’ medication. Reeves described putting the pills in mouth and giving him a glass of vodka to ingest the aforementioned pill(s). Reeves described [the victim] to be drunk during this time and not resisting the pills he was providing. When asked about his alcohol consumption, Reeves explained he had been drinking twenty four hours a day since Saturday.

Furthermore, Reeves made multiple spontaneous utterances while at the hospital, to include statements such as “I killed him” and “I poisoned him and I poisoned the dogs.”

Over the course of the investigation, the sheriff’s office said, it was learned that the defendant told a nurse at the hospital he was suicidal because he poisoned the victim. After investigators read Reeves his Miranda rights on April 1, 2022, at the hospital, the affidavit said, he admitted to poisoning the victim with pills to make him sleep as well as anxiety medication. He allegedly admitted to poisoning their dogs, too:

During the interview, Reeves explained that he (Reeves) accidentally poisoned their dogs contributing to a decline in the dog’s health. Reeves explained that he attempted to kill [the victim] so he didn’t find out about the aforementioned situation involving their dogs. Reeves recalled [the victim] last being alive on Saturday evening. Reeves explained he checked on [the victim] and knew he was dead but did not contact first responders because he wanted to pretend [the victim] was alive for a few days longer. Reeves explained from Sunday until Thursday, he drank and smoked all day, pretending “it never happened.”

The suspect allegedly told authorities he and the victim drank about “one bottle of vodka per day” in the weeks leading up to the slaying.

Authorities said the medical examiner found on Nov. 14, 2022, that the victim died from mixed drug toxicity. Then, on March 8, 2023, deputies “received and reviewed the final report from the medical examiner’s office.” Reeves’ arrest followed on Thursday afternoon.

Reeves remains jailed without bond in Palm Beach County. Records list public defender Scott Pribble as Reeves’ attorney.

An initial appearance was moved to May 22, court records say.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.