Jonathan Schuler of West Palm Beach, Florida is accused of fatally shooting his roommate Junior Petit-Bien in their Boynton Beach home on February 3. Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office announced his arrest for first-degree murder on Monday. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to investigators, Schuler lived with Petit-Bien, 34, at a home in Willow Spring Circle. They are still unsure as to why Schuler allegedly shot and killed Petit-Bien.
Schuler, 32, was already booked into Broward County Jail for the alleged killing of Arcenio Alvarez of Lake Worth last month. Schuler and Alvarez were both working as day laborers at a Deerfield Beach construction site when Schuler allegedly struck and killed Alvarez with a crowbar.
Petit-Bien’s cousin, Marco Petit of Boynton Beach, told news sources that his cousin was a very quiet man who kept to himself. He was upset Schuler hadn’t been arrested immediately after his cousin’s murder, allowing him topurportedly kill Alvarez.
A spokesperson for Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office told news sources that investigators couldn’t charge Schuler for the murder of Petit-Bien until they had enough probable cause to arrest him. He is reportedly being extradited to Palm Beach County Jail to face the new murder charge.
The death of Alvarez does not appear to be related to the killing of Petit-Bien. Investigators from Broward Sheriff’s Office are describing the killing as a “seemingly unprovoked attack.” According to news sources, the attack took place on March 8 at a construction site at 700 W. Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield Beach.
Reports aren’t clear about what exactly happened, but witnesses allegedly saw Schuler hit Alvarez with a crowbar twice over the head. Several construction workers told the press that they saw Schuler running after Alvarez, who was reportedly wielding an ax. The witnesses subdued Schuler after he purportedly struck Alvarez and waited for police and paramedics to arrive.
Alvarez was rushed to Broward Health North, where he died less than an hour later. Schuler was also taken to the hospital but was later discharged and booked into Broward.
Gina Carter, a spokesperson for Broward Sheriff’s Office, told the press that the cause of the attack was unclear. Investigators didn’t know if the two men had even met before. They were employed by different companies and it doesn’t seem as if there was a fight that prompted the attack.
“It doesn’t appear that there was a fight between the two men, but this is something that the detectives are gonna . . . be trying to determine,” Carter said. “What prompted the attack? Why did this even happen?”
A first-degree murder charge is a capital offense in the state Florida punishable by only two possible sentences: life in prison without the possibility of parole, or death. Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the state, but the death penalty can be waived as a sentencing option. Homicide is only justifiable under Florida law if done in self defense.