Last week, the Orange/Osceola County Joint Homicide Investigation Team (JHIT) arrested Paul V. Neff in Winter Park for the murder of his roommate Sean Van Davis. The two men lived in the Errol Villas Condominiums when the shooting occurred. It was the latest step in an investigative process that began in early November. The Apopka Voice will tell this tragic, bizarre and violent story in a five part series entitled "The Errol Shooting". The series will explore the roots of the volatile three-year relationship between Neff and Davis... where they met, why they came to Apopka, what led to the shooting, and finally the evidence the JHIT team collected that contradicts Neff’s claim of self-defense and ultimately caused the State Attorney to charge Neff with first degree murder.
Part Three - Their bizarre and violent times in Apopka.
Paul Neff and Sean Davis were quiet tenants at the Villa Lane Condominium they rented. They waived hello to their neighbors, didn’t cause any disturbances, and kept to themselves. But what was actually going on in that condominium and in their lives was a completely different story according to police reports, text messages and emails sent between the two men.
In the Fall of 2015, they rented the small condominium in Errol Villas. At some point in their three-year relationship, Neff and Davis had become romantically and sexually involved. They attempted to live together as a couple, but the extremes of their lifestyles caused them to constantly be on the verge of doom.
Both Neff and Davis drank heavily and had a crack cocaine habit. Neff also had intense mood swings and an obsession with guns and bullets.
Through text messages and emails collected by the Joint Homicide Investigative Team (JHIT) from Neff and Davis’ phone, a pattern of dangerous dysfunction emerged in the days leading up to Davis being shot to death by Neff.
Neff: Everything going O.K?
Davis: ok. 9:00ish is my eta
By 11:00 pm Davis is not home, and Neff is upset:
Neff: Got to go to bed in a bit.
Neff: Think I was pissed before U ain't seen nothing!
By the next afternoon (November 2nd), the tension continued between them.
Neff: I am taking it U R not coming home tonight. Didn't do those chores, took your laptop. Ya know U also need to clean.
Davis: Hey brother Paul I'm concentrating on driving and it is humid.
Neff: Deadbolt is locked U R all out now. Will be changing that lock out tonight.
Neff: My temper is controlled now. I am up 103.95 to 67.60 on my fantasy football.
Davis: Glad to hear that brother Paul
Later that evening around 9pm the tone changes again. Neff has had enough, and when Davis pushes back, Neff threatens to shoot him.
Neff: After last night and tonight and numerous other nights 1 do not think we can’t live together anymore!
Davis: So the $300 that I gave you in cash in the last 3 weeks plus don't count?
Neff: Not the point and we need to talk about this person to person. So come home and speak your mind.
Davis:I live at that house that I have contributed to. I will buy a new door cuz I will kick it off the hinges if I get there and its locked.
Neff: I have a 357 magnum to put six bullets in your Ass!!!!
Davis: I don't want to disturb you Paul I'll sleep on the porch.
Neff: No more brother golf coach or nothing and get the hell out. Up all night now I will shoot you there too.
Neff: This is no longer your home got it!!!
Neff: The only way U will not use people is if U R Dead’!
Davis: That’s fine Paul I'm convenient for you so you choose to use me as your whipping post.
Neff: Got the hollow points 357 shells loaded which will just about cut your midsection in half with one shot I!!!
Below are the text messages between Neff and Davis on November 3rd between 7 and 8:15 am. Apparently Davis returned to the residence, and took crack cocaine and his laptop before leaving.
Neff: Taking that cola tray says it all the addict that U truly R
Neff: Police just left. U will be arrested for stealing the camaro.
Davis: good morning Paul as usual my 8 o'clock alarm just went. off. please don't send anything into motion that you can't stop because you're mad.
Neff: Already in motion
Neff: Getting U addict out of my life for good
Davis: while you're hufiin and puffin and so mad with me and so hell bent on just destroying my life have you called and checked on your mother?
Later that morning there was an attempt at reconciliation between the two.
Davis: Sorry coach I vented took a mulligan can I get a do over on that? My approach may not be all that good but I'm trying really hard to make amends.
Neff: Won't happen ! l! I am no longer your coach 1!! U do not deserve one!
Davis: I'll make all of you eat s*** when i win the 2020 US Open
Neff: Now that is a good positive statement for once and I would like to see that !!
The reconciliation effort seemed to continue until at least 5:00 PM on November 4:
Davis: Honey will you grab me a pack of cigarettes in a few beers on your way home please.
According to the JHIT investigation, it is unclear what transpired between Neff and Davis after the reconciliatory text messages and emails on November 3rd or on November 4th. The last communication between the two telephones was in the evening of November 5th - just before Davis was shot to death by Neff.
Tomorrow - The shooting of Sean Davis: Self defense or a violent, pre-meditated attack?