A Florida man was found guilty of stabbing to death a former roommate in what prosecutors described as “revenge” for stealing his PlayStation.
Jake Bilotta, 26, was convicted by a jury Friday of first-degree for the 2018 killing of Joshua Barnes, 24, in Maitland, reported WESH.
Bilotta received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole after the court rejected his self-defense claims.
Bilotta’s other roommate Ian McClurg, 25, testified against him during the trial after pleading guilty in 2020 to accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma previously said that Bilotta and McClurg concocted a plan to lure Barnes to their home after suspecting him of stealing a $300 PlayStation 4 game console several days earlier.
Bilotta was so “aggravated” when he found out about the theft, according to Lemma, that he punched a hole in the wall and decided to kill Barnes.
When Barnes arrived at the home at his former roommates’ invitation, ostensibly to go to a party together, Lemma said Bilotta stabbed him 17 times with a 7-inch chef’s knife.
“You’re killing me,” Barnes was quoted by McClurg, who witnessed the stabbing, as yelling out during the deadly attack.
According to prosecutors, the plan was for Billota and McClurg to place Barnes’ body into garbage bags and bury it somewhere, but the plot swiftly unraveled when another roommate returned home from a date and caught them red-handed inside the blood-spattered residence.
Bilotta said he had to “give the f—er credit. He put up a good fight,” according to the arrest report obtained by The Post.
McClurg was arrested by deputies inside a bathroom. Bilotta fled but was quickly tracked down by a police helicopter to a parking lot a mile away from the crime scene.
During his trial, Bilotta took the stand and testified that Barnes’ killing was in self-defense after he allegedly reached for the knife that Bilotta said he had been using to chop up marijuana, WFTV reported.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen,” Bilotta told the court, arguing that Barnes overreacted seeing the knife in his hand and escalating the situation by trying to attack him.
Prosecutors said Bilotta’s version of events did not add up and was disputed by witness testimony. They later tweeted that “the motive was revenge for theft of a PlayStation, not self defense as Bilotta claimed.”
McClug is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the murder.