This afternoon, Joseph Frank Bova II, who turns 32-years-old in December, was convicted of first-degree murder after a jury in Bunnell listened to evidence presented during a five-day trial. The Flagler County jury deliberated only 39-minutes before returning a guilty verdict.
On February 21, 2013, Zuheily Roman Rosado was working alone as a store clerk at the Mobil Gas Station and convenience store located at 6020 East SR-100 in Palm Coast. Video surveillance obtained from the Mobil Station and neighboring businesses, showed Rosado behind the counter dressed in her Mobil uniform. She was leaning on the counter looking south through the front window of the store.
- At approximately 10:09 p.m., Joseph Frank Bova II, who was 25 years old at the time, was observed coming from behind the store; wearing a dark colored t-shirt with a white logo on the back underneath the collar, blue jeans, and dark colored footwear.
- Bova entered the store and paused for a brief second before walking towards the counter and firing three rounds at point-blank range. Each round struck Rosado. Bova exited the store without taking any money or merchandise and ran behind the store, through a wooded area and then through the parking lot of Coconuts Carwash, located at 6030 Old Kings Road.
- At 10:20 p.m., a customer entered the convenience store to find the clerk lying on the floor behind the counter in a pool of blood. Within moments of the gruesome discovery, an off-duty firefighter stopped at the station and checked the victim — he told the emergency call operator that he believed the victim was already dead.
The shocking surveillance video shows the killer with clear and deliberate purpose as he walks into the store, runs up to the counter, shoots Rosado, and then turns and runs out of the store. He does not handle any merchandise; he does not attempt to snatch money from the register or take anything of value — except the life of the 33-year-old mother of six children.
Within approximately three minutes, nine patrol units, including K-9 officers assisted by air support provided by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, had established a perimeter and they were searching for the killer. Sheriff’s detectives on the scene, along with investigators from the State Attorneys Homicide Investigative Unit and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Scene Unit, searched the area unsuccessfully.
On the lam for seven months, Bova stymied investigators in Flagler County, and with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as to his identity and whereabouts. That all changed during the seven days prior to his arrest.
On September 9, 2013, with assistance from Detective Clare with the Boca Raton Police Department, warrants to search Bova’s person and vehicle were obtained from the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County. The following day at approximately 3:20 a.m. the search warrant was executed on Bova’s Audi. The search led to the discovery of items of clothing that appear to match those worn by the shooter in the surveillance video — and they found the pistol identified as the handgun that fired the three lethal shots.
Historic City News editor Michael Gold was informed that Bova was being transferred to the Flagler County Detention Facility on September 14, 2013. We were notified around 12:30 p.m. that the transport team had departed Palm Beach County with Bova in custody; and, again about 3:00 p.m., as they crossed back into Flagler County. Gold witnessed Bova’s return.
- The two-vehicle convoy was taking no chances in transporting their prisoner over the course of the three-hour journey. Two heavily armed deputies, wearing bullet proof vests, battle dress uniforms, and carrying tactical weaponry, were inside the marked patrol car with Bova throughout the trip to Bunnell. A K-9 deputy shadowed the car in an extended cab pickup truck.
- When they arrived at the detention facility, both vehicles pulled under the sally port and the chain-link gates were closed behind them. A high-power tactical rifle and other weapons were stored in the trunk of the transport vehicle as deputies from inside the jail prepared to receive the inmate. The driver-side passenger door opened. One deputy took Bova by the arm while the other followed as they walked to the door of the booking area. The K-9 officer held a position in the corner of the completely fenced-in area in case of trouble.
- Bova was wearing a pair of black flip-flops and black, knee-length shorts; exposing his ankles which were shackled together with leg irons. He was restrained in handcuffs, but not behind his back. He was wearing a black Under Armor tee shirt. He did not speak as deputies assisted him out of the back of the sedan. His eyes stayed wide open and focused straight ahead — he did not face, gesture to, or acknowledge any of the journalists or television cameramen who had assembled from as far away as Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Orlando to record the event.
Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson and Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis prosecuted the case. Since his arrest, Bova has been in custody; sharing time between a state psychiatric hospital and the Flagler County jail. A competency hearing determined that Bova was fit to stand trial for this crime. Circuit Judge Terrence Perkins presided over the case and sentenced Bova to life in a state prison facility.
Photo credit © FlaglerLive