Sheriff: 'Violent... dangerous... bad man' arrested for murder in Polk campground

Polk County deputies arrested a man described as "violent" and "dangerous," who they say killed another man who was "pleasuring himself" while in a public area.

It happened in the Eloise campground area of Winter Haven. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said 42-year-old Robert "Mexico" Simmons was in an area where transient residents stay and began arguing with a 39-year-old man who Simmons said was masturbating in front of other people. 


Last weekend, Judd says Simmons confronted the man and told him to stop the behavior.

Judd said multiple altercations followed and, after the third interaction, Simmons killed the man.


On Tuesday, Judd said deputies were called about a murder in the campground. They found the victim's body in a shallow grave in a thickly wooded area.

A manhunt for the killer got underway Tuesday and lasted into the next morning.

Simmons eventually gave up and turned himself over to deputies. 

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Robert Simmons, after being arrested

Judd said he emerged from the woods with a knife, which he threw on the ground and admitted he used to kill the victim for "pleasuring himself" in public on more than one occasion.

"Robert is violent, and dangers, and he is a bad man," Sheriff Judd said during a press conference Wednesday. "Well, he's an arrested man, now."

Jud added that both men were members of separate area gangs, however, the incidents did not seem to have any relation to those gangs.

The sheriff said during the investigation, several transient residents were displaced from the campground. Deputies provided them with food and assistance as the manhunt went on.