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Cape resident to serve 15 years for manslaughter in ‘08 beating death

By Staff | Apr 27, 2009

A Cape Coral man pleaded no contest Monday to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the beating death of his 53-year-old roommate last April.
Michael Keith, 47, was initially scheduled to begin trial this week on a second-degree murder charge. He was accused of beating Carl Masters and striking him in the face with a metal object April 7, which police said ultimately caused Masters’ death.
Keith was sentenced by Lee Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck to serve 15 years in the Department of Corrections, with credit for time served of 386 days.
“I’m very upset with myself,” Keith told Steinbeck during his Monday afternoon sentencing hearing. “(Carl and Jessica Masters, his wife) were very good friends of mine. I feel bad for Jessica right now. Also I feel bad for my parents right now, that they have to deal with this for the next 15 years.”
Police reports indicate Keith was staying with the Masters because he had become homeless. The three lived at 1801 N.E. 2nd Terrace, where police discovered Masters’ body.
Keith and Masters reportedly had several physical altercations the night of April 7 and into the early morning hours of April 8, regarding prescription pills, cigarettes and money which Keith accused Masters of stealing.
Jessica was not home when Keith and Masters were fighting due to an impending separation with Masters, and returned to the home the next day to discover him dead, reports state.
Assistant State Attorney Bobby Lee said part of Keith’s plea agreement was that he was not to make contact with the Masters family.
Lee said state plea negotiations with Keith were initiated at the request of family members to avoid a jury trial.