Milton man charged in 2015 cold case murder expected in court Tuesday

Northwest Florida


John Palmer’s Bond was set at $500,000 today. His next court date is October 3rd at 9am.

MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — A Milton man accused of killing his roommate in 2015 arrested Monday is expected in court Tuesday. Officials say John Travis Palmer, 37, could face the death penalty for the murder of Stephen Rice Jr.

During a press conference with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday, officials say the penalties for first-degree murder are either life or death. Authorities say they will get together and have death penality committee meeting.

Police found Rice dead from a gunshot wound to the head in March of 2015. Palmer was initially a suspect in the case, according to the report, but charges were not filed in 2015. One witness told authorities Palmer admitted to killing Rice. Another witness came forward to report hearing Palmer brag about it.

Deputies still cannot comment on the motive because the Major Crimes Division is still investigating.

Palmer is being held in the Santa Rosa County Jail with no bond.

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