NW Florida man arrested for Memorial Day murder

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Neighbors said the Bay County suspect had blood on the front of his shirt when deputies escorted him from the scene.

By John Henderson | Panama City News Herald

HILAND PARK — One person is dead and the man who allegedly shot him charged with murder after a verbal altercation escalated Monday morning, sheriff’s officials said.

The victim was identified as 29-year-old Cody Littleton Darby, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO).

The suspect, Jonathan David Bennett, 20, of Panama City, was sitting on the ground in the driveway of the home and taken into custody without incident shortly after the shooting, which occurred at about 11 a.m. at 2722 E. 11th Court.

Neighbors said the suspect had blood on the front of his shirt when deputies escorted him from the scene.

Sheriff Tommy Ford told the media on scene the investigation thus far revealed the men were friends or at least acquaintances.

“Indications from a witness is they had been arguing this morning,” Ford said. He said the suspect left the residence but returned with a gun and approached the victim in the bedroom of the home.

Deputies found Darby’s body in the bedroom with a gunshot wound, BCSO reported. His body has been turned over to the medical examiner for an autopsy.

“We don’t have the motive or the reason behind the argument at this point,” Ford said. “That will be part of the investigation.”

Deputies arrived within 3 minutes of receiving a call from a woman about the shooting.

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