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Hernando murder suspect arrested 04-01-2011

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The suspect in a homicide that occurred in Hernando last week has been arrested on a second-degree murder charge.

Arthir Neil Sputa Jr., 48, was released Thursday from Tampa General Hospital and transported to the Citrus County Detention Facility in Lecanto where he is being held without bond.

Sputa was the primary suspect in the investigation of the death of 59-year-old Diane Bartlett, Sputa’s longtime domestic partner.

According to Sputa’s arrest report, deputies went to 6035 N. Tsala Apopka Drive off State Road 200 for a well-being check after concerned neighbors said the couple’s dog had been loose for several days, which was unusual.

Once at the home, deputies reportedly found Bartlett’s body lying behind a shed on the property. The report states that at that time, deputies heard noises coming from inside the home and there they found Sputa.

Sputa was taking to a patrol car where he was interview by a detective. According to the report, Sputa admitted that he and Bartlett got into a physical fight and he began to hit and choked her. He then allegedly said he knocked her out and dragged her to where her body was found behind the shed.

“I advised Mr. Sputa that his girlfriend was deceased in which he replied, ‘If she’s dead it’s from my hands,’” the arrest affidavit stated.

After the brief interview, Sputa was then transported to Citrus Memorial hospital after law enforcement discovered he had a gunshot wound to the inside of his mouth.

In subsequent interviews with the detective at the hospital, Sputa reportedly again stated he struck and killed Bartlett by choking her and then shot himself because of what he did.

According to the arrest report, the medical examiner’s office concluded Bartlett’s manner of death to be homicide by undetermined means.