Keys man charged with strangling a man until he was dead, then hiding him in car trunk

Police say a Florida Keys man became so irate with another man in a hotel room that he repeatedly punched him in the face, strangled him with his hands until he was unresponsive, then choked him with a phone cord to make sure he was dead.

Then, police said, when Justin Lawrence Earnshaw was certain the man was dead, he wrapped him in plastic and put him in the trunk of a white new model Honda Accord. A few days later, after police were flagged to the stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a South Miami-Dade Walmart, Earnshaw lied to police about his name, telling them he was Humphrey Thomas, police said.

Finally, while being questioned by Miami-Dade homicide detectives, Earnshaw waived his rights and admitted to the crime, police said.

“The defendant advised that days earlier, he became irate with the victim while they were in a hotel room,” the arresting officer wrote in Earnshaw’s arrest report.

Earnshaw, 38, who lives in Monroe County was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, issuing a false identification after an arrest and four counts of cocaine possession. He remained locked up Friday at the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center and was denied bond.

On Friday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the identity of the man found inside the trunk of the Honda as Jose Daniel Munoz, 39, of Key Largo.

According to police they were first notified when Munoz’s brother called Miami-Dade police after spotting his brother’s Honda around 11 a.m. Thursday. He followed Earnshaw, the driver and two other men in the vehicle to the Walmart parking lot at 13600 SW 288th St. , where police met him. The man had initially reported his brother was missing a day earlier, on Wednesday.

When police arrived at the Walmart, Munoz’s brother pointed Earnshaw out to police as he exited the Walmart and told them he was the driver. In the car were the two other men, one lying down and hiding in the back seat. Neither of them were charged with a crime.

Under questioning and after giving a false name, the arrest report says Earnshaw told police he rented the vehicle from a man named “Spooky” and that the murder happened in room 131 of the Country Lodge in Florida City.

Police said they discovered Munoz’s body in the trunk of the Honda after smelling a foul odor while searching the vehicle.