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Friday, January 21, 2022

Man arrested, charged with shooting ex-girlfriend’s father

Police have arrested an Alachua County man for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend’s father, who didn’t approve of their relationship.

Willard Merle Newman, 19, of 18001 NE 135th Ave. in Waldo, has been charged with first-degree murder for shooting Ronald Andrews, 46, to death in Andrews’ home on Tuesday. He was also charged for armed burglary.

Andrews’ 15-year-old daughter told police she and Newman had dated for the past four years. Ronald Andrews was strongly opposed to the relationship, and the girl said he threatened Newman with violence but never followed through.

The couple broke up two weeks ago, and on Monday, Newman requested the girl return a silver ring he had given her. According to Newman’s arrest report, the girl agreed to return it, but said she would make arrangements to do so later.

Police gave this account: Andrews and his brother, Joseph, arrived at Ronald Andrews’ home at 18104 NE 143rd Ave. in Waldo at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday after finishing a job as flooring contractors for the day.

Joseph Andrews stayed in the kitchen while Ronald Andrews went to see if his daughter was home.

According to the arrest report, when Ronald Andrews opened his daughter’s bedroom door, Joseph Andrews saw him throw up his hands, surprised, and yell, “What the hell! What the hell!”

He then saw two muzzle flashes, heard two gunshots and saw his brother’s body fall forward onto the floor.

Hearing one more gunshot moments later, Joseph Andrews fled the house and got in his van.

Sgt. Todd Kelly of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said neighbors called police at 5:03 p.m. The sheriff’s office responded with its SWAT team. Officers found Andrews inside his house and dragged him to his neighbor’s yard. Unsure if the shooter was still inside the house, officers called for K-9 units to respond.

Andrews was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers found a sliding glass door open at the back of the house, which the daughter said is normally kept locked, according to the arrest report.

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The sheriff’s office also found three .38-caliber shell casings and a bullet lodged in a closet wall.

Officers couldn’t find the silver ring in the girl’s bedroom after the shooting.

Earlier on Tuesday, Newman’s mother’s fiance, Kenneth Oliver, noticed his .38-caliber handgun was missing from the southwest Gainesville home he shares with Newman and Newman’s mother.

When Newman returned home Tuesday evening, Oliver asked him if he had been involved in the shooting in Waldo.

“Yes,” Newman said, according to the report.

Oliver called the sheriff’s office while Newman cried with his mother inside their home.

Officers brought Newman back to the sheriff’s office, where he was charged with first-degree murder and taken to Alachua County Jail.

Newman declined to make a statement at the time of his arrest.

Contact Erin Jester at ejester@alligator.org.

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