A passerby boater found the body of deceased Lonnie Wilson, 48, and transported it to Clearwater Police. According to police reports, Wilson died on December 3 with blunt force trauma to the front and back of his head.

Details Behind Overboard Death Of Clearwater Man Unfold In Search Warrant

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL. – On December 4, The Free Press reported news of a man was found dead floating in the Gulf of Mexico near Sand Key Park.

A passerby boater found the body of deceased Lonnie Wilson, 48, and transported it to Clearwater Police. According to police reports, Wilson died on December 3 with blunt force trauma to the front and back of his head.

A search warrant issued in Pinellas County courts dated December 5 indicates that one of a threesome of boaters, which had included Wilson, decided to talk to “clear his conscience” about how Wilson fell overboard on a Catalina Yachts fiberglass sailboat occupied by Shane Ryan Dugan, 28.

According to the search warrant, James McManus, 61, was asked by a Clearwater police detective if he knew the whereabouts of Wilson, to which he responded he did not, stating he also wasn’t sure if he had boated with Wilson that day due to the amount of alcohol he had. But McManus quickly changed his tune in an effort to be truthful and claimed the following story.
Lonnie Lee Wilson, Credit Legacy.com

All three boaters lived nearby each other in their own vessels near Clearwater Beach Marina.

According to the search warrant, James McManus, 61, was asked by a Clearwater police detective if he knew the whereabouts of Wilson, to which he responded he did not, stating he also wasn’t sure if he had boated with Wilson that day due to the amount of alcohol he had. But McManus quickly changed his tune in an effort to be truthful and claimed the following story.

While boating in the intercoastal and the Gulf, the threesome drank liquor. Wilson became argumentative with boat occupant/owner Dugan, who asked Wilson to “stop,” and warned that he would throw Wilson over the “mother f—ing boat” and into the waterway if he continued his behavior.

McManus said Wilson then got up from his seat and cocked his arm back, aimed at Dugan. Dugan got out of his seat and using both hands, pushed Wilson towards the side of the vessel. Wilson then fell into the water.

McManus drove Dugan’s vessel back to his own vessel located just east of the Clearwater Beach Marina. He admitted there were no attempts made to steer back to Wilson or get him help, and there were no other boats in the area.

McManus claimed that Dugan told him to not say anything except that Wilson fell into the water. Upon arrival at McManus’s vessel, Dugan took off on a smaller raft McManus had, and wasn’t seen since his departure.

However, Dugan called McManus on his cell while McManus was telling his side of the story to the detective. When the detective and Dugan were introduced, Dugan claimed Wilson was dropped off at his vessel and that no argument took place on his boat. Clearwater police went to Dugan’s boat and took possession of it.

Upon observance of Wilson’s body, police believe that likely an object was used that caused blunt force trauma to Wilson’s head.

The search warrant filed December 5 requests permission to search and forensically examine Dugan’s vessel and its possessions, in consideration of potential “Murder in the Second Degree.”

The boat is registered under the name Corey Herbert Waldron. His relationship to Dugan is not known.

After permission to search, items reported to be found on the sailboat included, among other items, a metal pipe, a marijuana pipe, beer cans, and bottled brandy.

The original Complaint/Arrest Affidavit charged Dugan with “Manslaughter,” to which Dugan has pleaded not guilty.

All three boaters involved in this incident have had arrests or legal violations. McManus was charged in 2019 with assault on a law enforcement officer with other arrests including public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer, leaving the scene of a crash with injury, and cocaine possession.

In 2019, Dugan was the subject of a temporary restraining order for dating violence and charged with obstructing or resisting an officer without violence.

Wilson served approximately nine months in prison in 2019 for trafficking in stolen property and burglary. He received citations for possession of a derelict vessel.

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