Lehigh Acres man sentenced to life for 2019 murder, arson

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Neville George Anthony Bethune (CREDIT: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

A Lehigh Acres man has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in killing and burning a 25-year-old from Lehigh Acres.

Neville George Anthony Bethune, 50, was sentenced to life in prison for First Degree Murder with a Firearm and 15 years in prison for Arson in the Second Degree. A jury found Bethune guilty in March following a five-day trial.

The state attorney’s office says the 25-year-old man who was killed had visited Bethune at his home in Lehigh Acres to collect money he was owed. They say the victim spoke with Bethune and another man, co-defendant Andrew Maldonado.

Deputies with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office later found the victim’s body burned beyond recognition in the trunk of a car in Palm Beach County. Surveillance video from a gas station near where the car was found showed Bethune, Bethune’s brother Donovan Baker, and Maldonado in the area. The video also showed Bethune’s truck following the victim’s rental car near where it was set ablaze.

Additional surveillance video from a convenience store showed the group after the car was set on fire. The video showed Bethune struggling to get out of the car, which was shown at trial to be the result of an injury he sustained while setting the victim’s car on fire.

Maldonado and Baker were both also arrested for the crime. Maldonado is awaiting sentencing. Baker’s case is pending prosecution in Palm Beach County.

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