Before murder-suicide, couple stole $200,000-plus

November 30, 2013 

Jim Ovecka and Michelle Chapman appear, shackled, at a court hearing in Corpus-Christ, Texas, where the pair admitted defrauding numerous customers at a restaurant they owned. Ovecka shot and killed Chapman, then himself, on Big Pine Key Monday, the Sheriff's Office says.


A man and woman found dead Monday in a car parked on Big Pine Key were admitted credit-card fraudsters from Texas.

Jim Ovecka, 49, and Michelle Chapman, 54, died in an apparent murder-suicide, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Their identities were confirmed by their Arizona driver's licenses and from fingerprints taken from their arrests by the U.S. Marshals Service in February.

The bodies were discovered by an employee of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District at 8:15 a.m. Monday inside a 2004 Honda Element parked in a wooded area off 5th Avenue.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said initial investigation strongly suggests "Ovecka used a handgun to first shoot Chapman in the head, then shoot himself."

The car was running, with a hose taped to the tailpipe and leading into the car.

Ovecka and Chapman were longtime residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, where they owned the Two Georges Seafood restaurant.

In 2011, they overbilled customer credit cards by about $200,000. One customer claimed to have been charged an extra $14,000 after a dinner party.

According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the two pleaded guilty, were put on probation and ordered to pay more than $102,000 restitution to credit-card companies, including $15,000 within 30 days. It was unknown whether Ovecka and Chapman had court permission to travel out of Texas.

The last murder-suicide in the Keys happened in May 2011, when 80-year-old Glen Tucker shot his wheelchair-bound wife, Joan -- and their cat -- at the couple's Little Torch Key home before turning the gun on himself.

Neighbors reported hearing several shots at the Tuckers' Tortuga Road home, and saw what appeared to be Joan Tucker, 77, shot in the downstairs of the house.

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