Convicted Fort Walton Beach killer Justin Lantz investigated for murder of fellow inmate
PERRY — Justin Lantz, who in April 2018 was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in Okaloosa County of murdering his mother, is a prime suspect in the killing of a fellow inmate.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a homicide Jan. 31 at Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry. The victim, Dequan Dodson, was Lantz's cellmate.
Mimi Ramirez, Lantz's aunt and the sister of Robin Lantz, the woman he killed, said she learned of her nephew's potential involvement in Dodson's death when she called Taylor Correctional to ask why Justin had been moved to a facility in the Jacksonville area.
"They told me he was under investigation for the murder of his cellmate," she said.
Will Washington, the chief assistant state attorney in the Third Judicial Circuit's State Attorney's Office, confirmed that the FDLE had notified his office it was investigating a homicide at Taylor Correctional Institution that involved an inmate.
He said the State Attorney's Office has not been given details or names of those involved in the investigation.
"It takes awhile. They have inmates to interview and video to look at," Washington said. "Once they get done, we'll get the case."
The Florida Department of Corrections declined to provide any information about the incident at the prison except to confirm that Dodson had died and provide the date of his death.
Dodson, 27, was serving a 45-year sentence for second-degree murder that had been imposed by a Duval County judge in 2012.
FDLE officials did not comment on the prison homicide, which a spokeswoman said was still considered an open investigation.
Lantz was taken into custody early on Aug. 2, 2016, after Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies found him in the water beneath Brooks Bridge on Okaloosa Island, trying to dispose of Robin Lantz's body, which he had wrapped in a rug.
Two years later, a jury quickly concluded that sometime between 10 p.m. Aug. 1 and 12:45 a.m. Aug. 2 Justin Lantz had made the deliberate decision to beat and strangle his mother.
Although his attorney stated in court that Lantz acknowledged killing his mother, he argued the death occurred in a moment of passion and that his client should face punishment for second-degree murder.
Medical Examiner Cameron Snider, however, described from the witness stand in graphic detail how brutal the killing of Robin Lantz had been, estimating the time it took to commit murder by strangulation at 3 to 5 minutes.
Jurors pronounced Lantz guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and Circuit Judge John Brown sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.