71-Year-Old Man Murdered with Pickaxe While He Slept for $45 and His 20-Year-Old Truck
On February 9th, 2010, 71-Year-Old Charles R. Kilpatrick was bludgeoned to death while sleeping on his couch during a robbery perpetrated by a man he recently kicked out of the residence, Christopher Shipley, and another man named Michael Corrales. After murdering Kilpatrick, also known as “Mickey”, with a pickaxe, the two men fled with $45 from Kilpatrick’s sock and his 20-year-old truck. The motivation for the robbery turned murder was to get a vehicle to go to Sanford for drugs. Christopher Shipley was sentenced to 20 years after a plea agreement which included testifying against Corrales, and Corrales was sentenced to life without parole.
Both Shipley and Corrales were in their 20’s and struggled with substance abuse. Christopher Shipley, also known as “California” or “Cali”, rented from Kilpatrick twice at 800 California Avenue, St. Cloud, Florida. The first time Shipley rented a separate unit, but the second time Shipley rented the unit Kilpatrick used as a winter home since he was a snowbird. Shipley and another man named Joe Silleto continued to live in the residence after Kilpatrick returned from Pennsylvania for the winter as roommates. After living together with Kilpatrick for a little over a month, Shipley attempted suicide at the house and was sent to a nearby psychiatric facility on an involuntary hold called a “Baker Act” locally. At the psychiatric facility, Shipley meets Michael Corrales since they shared a room at the psychiatric facility.
Timeline of Events
- 2:00 PM, February 7th, 2010: Long time friend of Charles “Mickey” Kilpatrick, Judy Hammond, goes to his residence to bring him spaghetti. While visiting, Charles tells Judy that he no longer wanted Shipley at his residence. At this time, it was 5 days since Shipley’s suicide attempt, and he was still at the psychiatric facility.
- Early February 8th, 2010, Michael Anthony Corrales and Christopher Allen Shipley are released together from Park Place Behavioral Health Care. Although both had been “Baker Acted” and put on a psychiatric hold, Corrales’s mother stated she had brought him there to get clean off of drugs. During a jail call on February 16th, Corrales stated that he feigned psychiatric symptoms to get admitted because he “violated his probation and didn’t want to go to jail”. Christopher Shipley was admitted due to a suicide attempt. After getting bus money from someone at the psychiatric facility, Shipley and Corrales traveled to St. Cloud expecting to stay at Shipley’s house.
- Early February 8th, 2010, Kilpatrick kicked out both Joe Silleto and Christopher Shipley due to non-payment of rent. When Shipley and Corrales arrived, Shipley found that all of his clothes and other belongings were put into a shed outside and returned his key to Kilpatrick. Joe Silleto left to an unknown location, and Shipley and Corrales wandered around St. Cloud without Kilpatrick knowing where they went. While wandering around town, Shipley and Corrales spent most of their time trying to find and use drugs including alcohol, Roxicodone, and crack cocaine.
- Afternoon of February 8th, 2010, Kilpatrick called Judy Hammond and said that Shipley and another unknown white male were at his residence and asked if she could come to the house because he was scared. When she was approaching the house, she saw Shipley and Corrales walking south on California Avenue having just left the residence. When she pulled in, Shiple and Corrales returned to the house and picked up a chainsaw and a gas can before leaving again. While there, Kilpatrick told Judy that he had kicked out both Silleto and Shipley, and that he was afraid of both men.
- Night of February 8th, 2010, after wandering around all day, Shipley and Corrales went back to the house on 800 California Avenue. That night Shipley first slept on a concrete slab outside of the garage, while Corrales slept in the shed. At some point in the night Shipley went to the shed to retrieve a jacket because it was very cold, and Corrales moved over so Shipley could also sleep in the shed protected from the wind.
- February 9th, Shipley and Corrales continued to roam around the town attempting to make money (such as by selling the chain saw the day before), procuring drugs, and visiting friends of Shipley’s. Shipley stated that Corrales mostly talked about wanting “roxies”. Since Corrales was not from St. Cloud and did not know anyone there, he wanted to get back to Sanford where he knew a girl that would “front him 30 roxies”. Both Shipley and other witnesses stated that Corrales began wanting to carjack someone so that he could get to Sanford, asking one witness who she hated so that he could beat them up and take their vehicle.
- 6:40 PM, February 9th, Shipley and Corrales are detained by Saint Cloud Police Department. Both are released after completing Field Interview Cards and having photographs taken of their tattoos, despite a used needle being found on Corrales from Shipley and Corrales using it to shoot up Roxicodone shortly before the stop. Shipley claims he had never shot up Roxicodone before and had only taken them a few times before and that they affected him far more than Corrales who regularly uses them.
- 7:50 PM, February 9th, Kilpatrick summons an officer from Saint Cloud Police Department because he was scared about kicking out Shipley and Silleto after Shipley and Corrales visited where they argued about rent and if he can be kicked out. The officer informs Kilpatrick about the eviction process and that technically he could not kick Shipley from the residence and needs 30 days’ notice.
- Evening, February 9th, 2010, Shipley and Corrales are stopped by Saint Cloud Police Department at a CVS about 6 blocks from the residence because Corrales came back in an officer’s system as being missing and endangered. Shipley and Corrales are kept there while the police did what they needed to do to clear Corrales from the system. Shipley and Corrales were drinking beers. After leaving CVS, Corrales and Shipley sat at a car wash and finished their beers and a plot was formulated to steal Kilpatrick’s truck so that Corrales could get to Sanford, and they could get more drugs. While this is being discussed, they also discussed where money was generally kept, although Shipley was aware that Kilpatrick did not keep a lot of money in the house.
- 8:00 – 9:00 PM, February 9th, 2010, Kilpatrick leaves 3 messages on Judy Hammond’s phone after the officer leaves, asking her to return his calls and that he needed to speak to her.
- 9:00 – 10:00 PM, February 9th, 2010, Shipley and Corrales return to the 800 California residence. Shipley states that Corrales looks in the shed for a hard object to knock Kilpatrick out with in case he wakes up, while Shipley retrieves some socks from his belongings. Shipley goes to the bathroom on the side of the house, and shortly after, according to Shipley, Corrales turns the corner with the pickaxe. According to Corrales, Shipley is the one who comes around the corner with the pickaxe. The duo entered the home through the unlocked front door while Kilpatrick slept on the couch. Instead of just taking the keys to the truck that were on the table where Shipley knew they usually were, Kilpatrick is bludgeoned to death with the pickaxe. After the attack, pillows were placed over Kilpatrick’s face, and they left with $45 and his truck.
- 11:10 PM, February 9th, a photograph of a license plate matching Kilpatrick’s Dodge Dakota pickup truck is taken as Shipley failed to pay a toll.
- Early morning hours, February 10th, Shipley and Corrales arrive in Sanford at Carolyn Phillip and Steven King’s house in Kilpatrick’s truck. Corrales and Shipley shoot up more Roxicodone, then Shipley was told to stay in the camper outside. According to Shipley the Roxicodone affected him so much he crawled to the camper. At about 8 AM, Steven King tells Shipley that he has to leave, gives him money and a map of how to get out of the neighborhood. Shipley states that Corrales wanted the truck far away from him after Corrales and King wiped it down for fingerprints, and that he was told to ditch it in a parking lot.
- 11:30 AM, February 10th, 2010, Gayle Hammond, also friends with Kilpatrick, went to the residence for a welfare check and entered since he had his own key to the house. Kilpatrick was laying on the couch with pillows over his face. First thinking that Kilpatrick was asleep, Hammond tried to wake him. When that failed, he removed the pillows over Kilpatrick’s face and saw his badly mangled head. Stating that he did not think Kilpatrick was alive, he called 911.
- 11:35 AM, February 10th, 2010, Saint Cloud Police Department and Saint Cloud Fire and Rescue arrives on scene and finds Kilpatrick unresponsive, having been beaten around the head and face. Police noted large quantities of blood. After serving a search warrant on the residence, a bloody pickaxe was located outside leaning against an air conditioning unit.
- February 10th, 2010, Shipley’s phone is deactivated. St. Cloud PD determines this when they find a phone number in Kilpatrick’s notebook under the name “California” and contacted Sprint and filed an exigent circumstance form. Shipley said that his phone’s screen was broken rendering the phone unusable, and he sold the parts for a pill when he was still in Saint Cloud. He kept his SIM card in his wallet because they had his phone numbers and he told police where it was.
- February 10th, 2010, Corrales contacts his mother to meet him at a gas station in Sanford. There they give him a change of clothes and he tells his mother that he plans on turning himself in because he thinks he is wanted.
- 3:30 AM, February 11th, 2010, Corrales is located in Sanford by police by tracking a phone he called his mother from. The number came back as Carolyn Phillips. St. Cloud Police Department and Seminole County Sherriff’s went to the house of the phone owner. She stated that they could search her house and that Corrales was there, but he wasn’t. He was soon located across the street at a neighbor’s house. He is arrested for violation of probation and transported to Seminole County Jail where he soon confesses to being at the crime but not being the one to actually kill Kilpatrick.
- February 17th, 2010, Shipley is stopped by Marion County Sheriff’s Office for a seatbelt violation near the Ocala National Forest. He is soon arrested, with the information from the registration papers revealing that the truck was stolen and connected to a homicide in St. Cloud. Shipley had spent the last several days at the “Rainbow Gathering”, where hundreds of people camp out in the woods, and was returning there from helping get water for them when he was stopped. He had switched the vehicle’s tags with another person at the Rainbow Gathering and removed the VIN number on the vehicle.
Charles Kilpatrick’s autopsy was performed by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office. They determined that Kilpatrick was struck 6 to 8 times with a blunt instrument and ruled the death as a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the victim’s head. The strikes hit the victims head and face and caused multiple skull fractures, including a wound to his head that was 1” x 1” and an inch deep. Defensive wounds to his hands and other areas were consistent with a physical attack. The autopsy also noted that the 5’ 10”, 160 pounds 71-year-old man had Parkinson’s disease, advanced COPD, and severe coronary artery disease. Blood on the pickaxe was found to be Kilpatrick’s through DNA analysis but no physical evidence was identified to determine who the killer was.
Both defendants, Shipley and Corrales, admitted to being at the crime scene and planning to take the victim’s truck to get drugs in Sanford, but each accused the other of being the one to murder Kilpatrick. During a recorded interview with Corrales, Shipley and Kilpatrick argued over leaving the house and the eviction process then were stopped by police at CVS. They returned to the house and Shipley came around the corner with a big axe and he thought that Shipley was going to “whack him a couple times”, also stating at another time he was “just supposed to scare him”. Corrales alleges that Shipley said to “not worry about it because the old man has money” and kept saying “lay your ass down” to Kilpatrick while he was hitting him with the pickaxe. Corrales stated to police that he saw Shipley hit “the old man” with the axe and them fall onto the couch but that he didn’t think that Shipley wanted to kill him. He stated that he looked at Kilpatrick and wanted to take his pulse but decided that he didn’t look alive.
Corrales continued that he only wanted a place to sleep, despite saying that he wanted to steal the vehicle to get drugs. After the attack Corrales said he told Shipley “You better get me out of here”, ran over, grabbed the keys, and told Shipley to take him to Sanford. During the drive Corrales claims that Shipley went through the wallet and threw it out the window while driving, and that he told Corrales that he only knocked him out and did not kill him. He stated that he knew that the murder would catch up with them and that he was scared because he was going to go to prison for a while. When asked about pillows, he stated that he put the pillows over Kilpatrick’s head and face. Throughout the interview, Corrales continuously blamed himself, but maintained that he did not kill Kilpatrick.
Shipley’s story was similar to Corrales but with the roles reversed. Shipley stated that after being stopped at CVS they went back to the 800 California residence and while he got socks from the shed because his “feet were starting to stink”, Corrales started rummaging around looking for something “hard” to hit Kilpatrick within case he woke up. Shipley stated that Corrales picked up his pool stick as a weapon, and he told Corrales “No”. After Shipley defecating outside of the house, Shipley stated that Corrales came around the corner with the pickaxe and went in through the unlocked front door. He said that Corrales started in a crouched position to stay beneath a banister so that he wouldn’t be seen and that he followed behind him, but Corrales started swinging the pickaxe on Kilpatrick as soon as he got in the door. Shipley stated that he saw the first hit and backed out of the doorway, only being able to see Corrales swing two more times but not the contact because the banister stopped him from seeing. He stated that he heard 3 hits and the sound of metal on the man’s skull. He stated he yelled “don’t, don’t, don’t” while it was happening.
Shipley stated that having already told Corrales that Kilpatrick kept a small amount of money under his pillow, in his walker, or in his sock, Corrales started yelling about the money not being there when he looked under the pillow after attacking the man. Shipley claimed the pillows were put over Kilpatrick’s head by Corrales so that Shipley could step back into the house and point out where the keys and money would be. Shipley stated he drove the truck because Corrales did not have a license and that Corrales tossed the wallet out of the window. He said that he asked Corrales why kept swinging and that he said, “fuck that, he made us sleep outside in the cold shed”. He also stated that Corrales told him that Kilpatrick was still breathing. Shipley claimed to have not seen Kilpatrick’s injuries until being shown photographs during the interview but had seen blood dripping down.
Confessions to Cell Mates and Additional Charges
Michael Corrales made confessions to other inmates while incarcerated and these were used during the sentencing hearings. According to Morris Elliot Moore, Corrales bragged about the killing. Morris Elliot Moore was serving a 20-year sentence in Hillsborough County, had never been to St. Cloud, had not heard anything about the murder, and did not have anything promised to convince him to come forward. Moore testified that Corrales started by just bragging about killing someone. This then progressed to him telling Moore more about Corrales and Shipley’s case and that he was the one who actually killed Kilpatrick. Moore was told that there were two reasons for the murder: 1) so he could get more drugs and 2) to get another soul for the Devil so that the Devil would bless him. Moore testified that the only remorse that Corrales showed was over not killing Shipley and leaving him behind as a witness. Part of Moore’s testimony can be read here.
Confessions were also made to another inmate, Pietro Mourra, who had done time with Corrales in the past which made Corrales trust him. Mourra stated in a sworn statement that Corrales confessed that he was the one who used the pickaxe on the sleeping victim (unlike his story that there was an argument between Shipley and Kilpatrick that got out of hand), and that he blamed Shipley because he didn’t want to get the death penalty. Pietro was set to testify at Corrales’s trial. Despite a “Keep Separate Order”, Mourra and Corrales were transported together for Corrales’s trial on February 13, 2012. While the transporting agent was handling paperwork, Corrales went up to Mourra, called him a snitch, and head butted him in the face. This led to Corrales being charged with 1) retaliating against a witness causing bodily harm and 2) battery by detainee in a detention facility on another detainee or visitor.
Shipley and Corrales were originally charged with first degree murder with a weapon, robbery with a weapon, grand theft third degree of a motor vehicle, and armed burglary of a dwelling with a dangerous weapon but plead down to a lower charge of second-degree murder. Through Shipley’s plea agreement where he would testify against Corrales, Shipley was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On May 16, 2012, Corrales was sentenced to life without parole. You can see Corrales’s statement to the court prior to sentencing here.