43-year-old Sarasota woman charged with second-degree murder in connection with Mecca Drive incident

Eugenia Bright being held without bond in county jail

A 43-year-old Sarasota woman has been charged with Second-Degree Murder in connection with the Nov. 21 suspicious death incident reported on Mecca Drive, the Sarasota Police Department has reported.

Eugenia Bright, whose address was redacted in the case’s Probable Cause Affidavit, was arrested at 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 21, the affidavit says. The incident was reported at approximately 11 a.m. that day.

As of Nov. 28, Bright was being held in the Sarasota County Jail without bond, the Corrections Division of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office noted in its records. Her arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2023.

She is listed as unemployed.

The affidavit says that Sarasota Police officers responded on Nov. 21 to a call seeking a “welfare check” at a residence in the 800 block of Mecca Drive, in the northern part of the city. The caller said that her employee, Bright, had not shown up for work, which prompted the caller to be concerned, the affidavit adds.

The caller had been told that Bright was in her apartment, the affidavit continues.

When officers and a rescue unit arrived at the scene, they were not able to get anyone to come to the door, the affidavit notes. They learned that a friend of Bright, Ronsom Mitchell, had a key to the apartment, the affidavit indicates.

After he arrived and used that spare key to unlock the door and allow the officers and rescue team inside, the affidavit continues, the rescue crew “found Bright in and out of consciousness on the bed of the master bedroom.” Next to her on the bed, the affidavit says, they also saw “several pills and a bottle,” though the type of medication was redacted.

“Next to the bed was a door that leads to the bathroom,” the affidavit adds. “Officers observed blood on the door and floor.” Then one officer discovered the 53-year-old male victim on the bathroom floor, lying on his back and “covered in blood,” the affidavit says. Officers observed “two very large incisions on the upper back,” indicating that he had been stabbed, the affidavit adds.

Further, officers “found a handwritten note on the dresser next to the bed” where Bright was lying, the affidavit continues. “The note stated the author’s funeral desires. Also, on the dresser was a large knife,” the affidavit points out.

“The Chef’s knife” was between 8 and 10 inches long, the affidavit notes. “It was stained with blood and there were a few strands of hair stuck to it,” the affidavit says. The knife was atop a blue shirt next to Bright’s note.

The note read in part, “I do not want a funeral!!!! Just cremate me!” the affidavit adds. Bright had signed her first initial and last name on that note, which also identified two individuals that she wanted to be notified of her situation, the affidavit explains.

While the rescue crew members were transporting Bright to Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), the affidavit says, they administered “a small dose of NARCAN” to her, “to treat the ingested narcotics. She was conscious and breathing,” the affidavit adds.

NARCAN is used to revive people in emergency overdose situations, law enforcement officials have explained.

When a Sarasota Police Department detective and the officer who wrote the affidavit narrative spoke with Bright at the hospital, the affidavit says, she “was groggy and very difficult to understand.” She told them that she had taken about 12 pills in an attempt to kill herself, the affidavit adds. “When asked what happened,” the affidavit continues, “she teared up and stated she was tired.”

“Bright had a 2-inch laceration on the inner side of her right wrist which appeared to be self-inflicted and required stitches,” the affidavit also points out.

She “continued to fade in and out of focus and was unable to proceed with the interview. She asked that we return after she got some rest,” the officer wrote in the affidavit’s narrative.

Evidence of blood was found on Bright’s clothing, including her socks, the affidavit notes. A crime scene technician collected her clothing and took DNA swabs from her hands, it adds. “There were no defensive wounds or signs of being battered,” the affidavit points out.

The officer and the detective obtained a search warrant for a search of the apartment, which — the officer wrote in the affidavit — “was clean and nice.”

When officers and a detective canvassed the neighborhood and spoke with witnesses, the affidavit continues, one individual reported having “heard a female voice coming from within the apartment screaming aggressively …” That occurred about 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 21, the witness pointed out.

“Detectives believe, based on their investigation, this was an isolated incident, and the public is not in danger,” a Nov. 28 Sarasota Police Department news release said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or go online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com, the release added.

The 800 block of Mecca Drive is just north of the Days Inn by Wyndham Sarasota Bay and immediately south of the Goodwill store standing at 5100 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The location also is just east of U.S. 41 and southeast of the Ringling Museum of Art.

Prior criminal history shows mostly traffic charges

A Sarasota News Leader search of records of the Sarasota county Clerk of the 12thJudicial Circuit Court and County Comptroller found that Bright has been charged with several traffic offenses since May 2002, including running a stop sign, speeding, careless driving, and two counts of Unknowingly Operating a Vehicle while Driver’s License Suspended/Canceled/Revoked. The latter of those cases occurred in April 2010, the records show.

The Florida Highway Patrol charged Bright with Careless Driving on Jan. 13, 2018, according to the citation in that case. That incident occurred at the Clark Road exit for Interstate 75, the citation indicates, with Bright having rear-ended another vehicle, resulting in damage estimated at $1,000.

Additionally, in March 2006, Bright was the petitioner in a Repeat Violence case involving an individual named Harvey Bass, the clerk’s records note. All of the documents in that case are classified as “Protected,” the docket shows.

That case ended up being dismissed on March 22, 2006, the docket says, following a “domestic violence hearing” conducted the same day.