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‘He Had Promised to turn his life around,” ex-girlfriend says

The family and friends of suspected murderer Peter Serge Avsenew are having a hard time accepting the fact that their loved one may be a killer.

Accused of killing a gay couple in their Wilton Manors home on December 26, 2010, Avsenew, the 26-year-old Flanagan High School graduate, from Hollywood, Florida, is being held without bond on a probation violation.

But says Richard McClendon of Davie, “Peter was like a brother to me man...I could never imagine him doing anything like that and I surely don’t think he did it.”

Even more shocked is his ex-girlfriend, Farrah Willis, 33, who spent 7 months with Avsenew as a couple back in 2007, when they worked together at the popular T-Bones Steakhouse in Haines City, Florida.

“He was cool with all the employees, and many gay ones,” she said. “He was not anti-gay in any way. He was a really nice guy who had been doing good; a genuine person who liked to party a little.”

She added that her relationship with him was intimate and sexual, volunteering that he had a “ neat Prince Albert,” a common male genital piercing, popular in the gay community since the early 1970’s in West Hollywood, California.

Farris added that Avsenew was very open about his probationary sentence for grand theft out of Monroe County, and that he was “working on getting his act together, and meeting with his probation officer regularly.”

Violating that probation, however, is the preliminary basis for his new arrest and no bond hold. Formal charges in the double homicide of Kevin Mark Powell and Steven Duane Adams are pending. One thing is clear to homicide detectives, though.

“It was not a random act or a break in,” says Wilton Manors police Sergeant Chuck Howard, “The victims knew the accused assailant.” Sources confide that detectives are exploring “how and where the men met.” Additionally, police are not saying they have a confession in hand, though it appears Avsenew may have made admissions to third parties.

The arrest also surprised Avsenew’s 21-year-old niece, Erica Howard, from Sarasota, who could only describe her uncle in glowing terms: “He was and is an amazing uncle and he was always there for me. And he never let anything bad happen to me, he was more like an older brother. I love him with all my heart and I could never imagine him doing anything like this.”

But most of those reached had not seen Avsenew lately, and were unaware that he had done jail time at least twice this year, getting out once in June. His own posting June 24 on Facebook read that he was excited to be free, announcing that “this was the first day of the rest of his life and he was going to make the most of it.”

About the same time, Avsenew remarked that he could not wait to be home in order to raise his child: “I love my son and want the best for him which includes being with me.”

While it is unknown who he fathered the child with, it was at Avsenew’s mother’s home in Dundee, Florida, where he was apprehended without incident last Tuesday. That is also where the victims’ stolen car was recovered.

The profile picture Avsenew posted of himself on Facebook last June depicts a robust body, strong chest and clean-shaven face. Said Willis, his former girlfriend, “He was a fairly attractive young college kid who helped people out; the kind of person who worked hard.”

Though police are so far still silent about it, Avsenew’s booking photo from Tuesday’s arrest depicts an ashen withdrawn face, intimating drug use. Across the state, Avsenew has been taken into custody more than a dozen times since 2003, state records show.

He has been convicted of vehicle theft, robbery, grand theft and engaging in fraud through bounced checks. He also has pled no contest to marijuana possession, loitering, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections Avsenew has relied on about eight different aliases, including the name Peter Avsenen.

Under any name, Avsenew will apparently not fulfill the promises he made to himself and his infant son. Given the aggravating circumstances attendant to a double homicide, it appears the only place he is headed may be to Starke, Florida, where Death Row inmates are housed.

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