• Men accused of burying friend who overdosed in backyard to avoid arrest, deputies say

    By: WFTV.com

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County, Florida, man who said he buried his friend in his backyard after the friend overdosed is now one of two people facing charges.

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    With zip-tied hands, 50-year-old Gregory Palermo and 59-year-old Donald Lee Morrison were led into the Orange County Sheriff's Operations Center on Friday. 

    Deputies said the men tampered with evidence and didn't report the death because they were worried they'd get in trouble for drugs.

    Investigators in this case said this could have been avoided if the men had called 911.

    The Sheriff's Office wants people to know there's a state law that protects a person from investigation for drugs if they report an overdose at their house.

    But there is no protection if you try to hide or bury a body.

    Both men are under arrest for their connection to what happened before the body of 28-year-old

    Brandon Boone was found buried nearly 10 feet deep in Palmero's backyard. 

    In April, Palermo claimed Boone overdosed at his house and said he thought he was honoring Boone's wishes by burying him in the backyard.

    "I wish that I didn't do it," Palermo said.

    Detectives already had a search warrant and were paying attention to Palermo's public statements.

    “He admitted to it, confessed to burying the body, showed us where he buried the body," homicide Sgt. Joseph Covelli said.

    Autopsy information in an arrest report shows Boone died of an overdose of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

    Investigators said both Palermo and Morrison knew that if they had alerted authorities to Boone's death, a joint drug and homicide investigation would unfold at Palermo's house.

    Morrison said they buried the body because, the report noted, "We all thought we were going to jail."

    “Their whole purpose of burying the body was to prevent a criminal investigation into the death of Mr. Boone ever existing,” Covelli said.

    The Sheriff's Office said it's also seeking to recover $15,000 in resources that was spent on heavy equipment needed to excavate Boone's body.

    Both men are being held on just over $11,000 bond.


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