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A Florida man previously indicted for murder has been formally charged in the shooting death of a Palm Beach Lyft driver earlier this year.
Mathew Scott Flores, 36, who is accused of killing 43-year-old Jose Carlos Martinez on Jan. 24 in Hardee County, was indicted by an Okeechobee grand jury in connection with the death of 74-year-old Lyft driver Gary Levin, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced.
He is charged with first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Flores was found driving Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger in North Carolina on Feb. 2 while agents were investigating him in the death of Martinez, FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported.
ELDERLY FLORIDA LYFT DRIVER, PREVIOUSLY REPORTED MISSING, CONFIRMED DEAD
Mathew Scott Flores has been indicted on three charges in the January death of 74-year-old Lyft driver Gary Levin. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)
Florida authorities said Flores was connected to a vehicle stolen out of Orange County that was found in Lake Worth, which is where an acquaintance ordered him a Lyft ride to Okeechobee that was picked up by Levin. Flores is accused of shooting and killing Levin inside the car.
Levin was reported missing out of south Florida after he became “unreachable” on Jan. 30. His body was found in a wooded lot in Okeechobee County by FDLE agents on Feb. 4.
“Mr. Levin’s body had been cruelly dumped in a wooded area. His murder was cold. It was senseless and completely unnecessary,” FDLE’s Eli Lawson said during a Wednesday news conference. “Mr. Levin was a beloved member of the community here in Palm Beach. He’s a father and a friend. His loved ones have experience insurmountable grief. No one should ever have to go through that.”
Gary Levin smiles on vacation in a 2020 photo shared to his Facebook page. (Gary Levin/Facebook)
JUDGE ORDERS MENTAL EVALUATION FOR MAN WHO ALLEGEDLY KILLED A FL LYFT DRIVER
The FDLE said Levin’s car was spotted in Miami, Okeechobee and Gainesville after his disappearance. It was ultimately stopped in North Carolina on Feb. 2 after a U.S. Marshals regional task force notified authorities to be on the lookout.
Flores, who was driving the car, allegedly led police on a chase through three counties before they ran him off the road, causing the vehicle to crash. He was arrested in Rutherford County, North Carolina, and charged with multiple crimes, but prosecutors dropped the charges so Florida authorities could pursue the murder allegations against him, Law & Crime reported.
Mathew Scott Flores, 36, arrives in Florida after being extradited from North Carolina in connection with the death of Jose Carlos Martinez. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)
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He was extradited to Florida last month to face the charges in connection with Martinez’s murder, which include first-degree murder, grand theft auto, possession of a firearm by a felon, and tampering with evidence, according to court records.