Crime

Duck Key murder victim was set to be married this week

A first appearance in Marathon court has yet to be scheduled for a Winter Springs, Fla., man accused of murder Friday night.

Ryan Wilder, 32, is being held in the Monroe County jail on Stock Island with no bond allowed; the charge is non-premeditated homicide. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives say he shot and killed Kenneth Palicki, 47, shortly before 6:30 p.m. Friday night.

Palicki and his fiance Colleen Lyons, 25, lived at 162 N. Indies Drive, a house owned by Wilder’s parents, said Deputy Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. Palicki and Lyons had been served eviction papers requiring them to be out of the house by Aug. 23, Herrin said.

According to the arrest report, Lyons was home when Wilder showed up around 6 p.m. and started taking items from the house. Palicki returned home shortly after, which is when Wilder and Palicki began arguing and Palicki told Lyons to call the Sheriff’s Office, which she did. While on the phone with a dispatcher, Lyons said Wilder had a pistol in a holster on his hip.

During the call, Wilder drew the weapon and shot Palicki four times, Herrin said. According to the arrest report, Wilder shot Palicki in the neck on the right side, once in the left forearm, once in the upper right thigh and once in the middle of the back.

Palicki was pronounced dead at Fishermen’s Community Hospital in Marathon at 7:18 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit.

After shooting Palicki, Wilder got into his truck and drove away, according to the report. Lyons gave the dispatcher a description of the vehicle and where it was heading. He was pulled over a short distance away by a deputy, according to the report.

Before being pulled over, Wilder told his girlfriend, Amber Gray, who was waiting in the passenger seat of their Ford F350 pickup truck during the altercation, that he shot Palicki but it was self defense, Gray told deputies, according to the arrest affidavit.

According to Lyons’ Facebook profile, she moved to Duck Key July 27 and had been with Paliki since June. A July 29 Facebook post by Palicki shows a series of photos in which Lyons, Palicki, Gray and Wilder are seen smiling on a boat at the sandbar near Grassy Key.

Palicki and Lyons were set to be married this week, according to his Facebook profile. A photo posted by Lyons of her and Palicki Saturday night had a caption saying, “No one will ever understand how I feel. I miss you so much my love.”

Duck Key resident Sherry Popham said when she pulled onto Duck Key Drive on her way home from work Friday night around 7 p.m. and saw all the patrol cars, she knew something serious had happened.

“It looked like Armageddon,” she said. “There were four state police patrol cars, the street was blocked and I saw a bunch of Monroe County Sheriff’s Office cops milling around. They rerouted us through the condominiums on the west side of the resort island.”

All anyone could tell her was there had been an “apprehension.”

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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