Tampa Bay man beaten to death with metal baseball bat

A 50-year-old man has been charged with murder after Pinellas County deputies found a man beaten to death with a metal baseball bat.

The victim, 52-year-old Bryan Les Merriam, suffered apparent head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

County deputies arrived at a home on Timber Bay Circle W in Oldsmar at around 2:30 p.m. after hearing reports of the beating.

An hour later, a man arrived at the Pinellas County Justice Center and turned himself in, officials said in the release. The investigation is still ongoing, and official narratives may change.

Detectives who interviewed him said he told officials he struck Merriam once in self-defense and multiple times afterwards out of anger.

The suspect allegedly arrived at Merriam’s residence looking for his girlfriend, whom he believed was hiding there, Pinellas officials said in the release.

The suspect allegedly struck Merriam in the back of the head with the bat, officials said, then hit him several times after he fell to the floor.

Ramon Chalas Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder and is in custody at the Pinellas County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office’s online records.

The victim’s next-of-kin have been notified.

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