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The man awaiting trial for the Brittany Tavar case now charged with tampering with witness

8:01 PM, Jun 10, 2013   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The man accused of killing Brittany Tavar in 2010 now faces battery and tampering charges for allegedly punching a witness.

Brittany Tavar disappeared in the summer of 2010.

The case took twists and turns all over the country.

Her dogs were found in South Carolina, her SUV was found in Wyoming, and the young homeless man she took into her home was found in Washington.

Investigators say that man -- Joseph Roberts, 24 -- eventually led them to her body in the woods in St. Augustine.

Roberts has been charged with her murder and awaits trial.

Investigators say Roberts admitted to detectives that he hit Tavar with a hammer and slit her throat after an argument inside her home near Vilano Beach. However, Roberts is pleading not guilty. A prosecutor told First Coast News that Roberts is trying to have his confession statement suppressed.   

Since being in jail, Roberts has been charged with battery and tampering with a witness. A St. Johns County Sheriff's Office report indicated Roberts beat up another inmate, Richard Edsall, in the fall of 2012.


Prosecutor Jason Lewis said Edsall could be an important witness in the case, but he declined to say why.


The sheriff's report said "Roberts came in the room and told him (Edsall) he heard a tape against him. Roberts then started punching him five times, then they went to the floor."


Lewis said Roberts was referring to an audio tape of Edsall. Lewis added that after the alleged jailhouse fight, Edsall and Roberts are "not incarcerated together."

Tavar's former neighborhood is South Beach just off of A1A, north of Vilano Beach. Her house has been sold, and neighbors say the case, while sad, hasn't changed the neighborhood.

Dan Floryan lives in the neighborhood and he remembers when Tavar disappeared. He said people talk about the case "occasionally, only if it comes up in the context of some other discussion. But we don't dwell on it. It's happened. It's gone past. We've moved on."

He thinks most people will follow the trial though.

There is a pretrial hearing set for this week. 

First Coast News

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