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Six-year hunt for Longboat double-homicide suspects heats up

Police recently arrested a second suspect in connection with the 2017 murders at the Zota Beach Resort, but the case still isn't closed.

The Longboat Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff and Manatee County Sheriff responded to the double homicide Aug. 4, 2017, at Zota Beach Resort.
The Longboat Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff and Manatee County Sheriff responded to the double homicide Aug. 4, 2017, at Zota Beach Resort.
Photo by Eric Garwood
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Longboat Key Det. Capt. Robert Bourque’s investigation into the 2017 Zota Beach Resort double homicide began with one suspect. Now there are four. 

The latest, Latoya Hanna, was the lookout and getaway driver. That’s according to a Jan. 4 arrest warrant that says in the dark hours of that August 2017 morning, Latoya Hanna drove two men and a woman in a white rental van away from Zota Beach Resort.

Latoya Hanna: Getaway Driver
Courtesy image

A Zota security guard and its night clerk lay dead, multiple gunshot wounds each, one body alongside the hotel front desk, another just a few feet away near an unopened safe. 

The armed robbery and two murders netted the suspects $900 from the front desk cash drawers.

Factor in the costs of a hotel room, rental van and new cellphones and the profits were slim. Maybe a couple hundred dollars. 

Latoya Hanna didn’t pull the trigger, but a 9 mm handgun registered in her name was used to kill Kevin Carter, 51, and Timothy Hurley, 59, according to the arrest warrant Bourque filed in Manatee County.

She was suspected to be a part of the crime from the start of the investigation. For six years, the Longboat Key Police detective has gathered evidence against Hanna to ensure there would be enough for the state to prosecute her. 

St. Lucie County officers and Bourque arrested Hanna on Jan. 12. She was transported back to Manatee County on Jan. 17, where she is facing a felony charge of first-degree murder. 

Her arrest was the next step toward closing the case, according to Bourque.

Darryl Hanna Jr.: Mastermind & Gunman
Courtesy image

But it’s not over yet. Police believe the crime involved four suspects.

Officers with the Manatee County Homicide Investigation Unit arrested the first suspect, Darryl Hanna Jr., on Aug. 9, 2017. That suspect, Latoya’s twin brother, fell into a stroke-induced coma a month later in jail. He never woke up. He died in 2021, according to Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court records. 

Another suspect became an informant. 

Bourque believes the last suspect was the gunman. That man is in prison for another unrelated homicide and could be released on good behavior in a couple years.

“The case won’t end until everybody is arrested,” Bourque said. 

July 2017

The boutique resort by the beach had been open less than a month.

Darryl Hanna Jr. started work there in July 2017 as a part-time security guard for Victory Security. He was a substitute guard, usually dependable according to his former boss. 

But he already had a criminal record, including possession of marijuana, operating a vehicle with a suspended license and petty larceny.

On Darryl Hanna Jr.’s first day working security at Zota, July 14, 2017, he texted his cellphone contact named “Pepsi.” 

That was his girlfriend, Gernicha Davis. 

“I got a good lick,” the text read — slang for a good robbery.

He had already complained to a coworker that he was underpaid.

A week later, Darryl Hanna Jr. attempted to rob the resort. 

Thomas Swigeart and Kevin Carter
Courtesy image

At 2 a.m. on July 21, 2017, security guard Kevin Carter was making his rounds, patrolling Zota Resort. At 6-foot-5, he had an imposing presence that helps a security guard with deterrence. But his partner of 24 years, Thomas Swigeart, called Carter a “teddy bear.” 

The white sedan in the resort’s parking lot that night caught Carter’s eye. It was backed into its space. 

Carter approached the vehicle and questioned the driver, a woman matching descriptions of Latoya Hanna. There was no one else in the car that he could see.

She told Carter that she was registering for a room online.

Carter left her to it and walked toward the parking garage. That’s when he saw a man with an afro near the resort’s dumpsters, adjusting something on his face, maybe a mask. 

Carter went into the lobby and called 911. He said he was worried they were going to attempt to rob the hotel. 

He documented the night’s events in a security report. Dispatch sent Longboat Key Police to investigate, and they wrote a report of the suspicious incident. 

At approximately the same time, Latoya Hanna had a text message exchange with her brother, Darryl.

“Let’s go,” Latoya texted. A minute later, “Now.”

“Coming,” Darryl replied.


They were scared off by Carter that time. 

Aug. 4, 2017

Almost every night, Zota Night Desk Manager Tim Hurley walked a co-worker to her car, just to be safe. Her shift ended at 11 p.m. He went to her softball games, too. At 59 years old, he was like a father to her.

Kristine Geer and Tim Hurley at her graduation at University of South Florida.
Courtesy image

The job at Zota helped Hurley provide for his mother and three sisters and raise his niece and two of her cousins. He wore glasses and had a businessman’s haircut, gray mixed in with brown. His niece, Kristine Geer, described him as selfless and a man who always taught his family to be good people. 

On Aug. 4, he was two weeks away from his 60th birthday.

According to Latoya Hanna’s arrest affidavit, Darryl Hanna Jr., Latoya Hanna, Damien Garvin and Gernicha Davis rendezvoused that night in a motel room at the Sunrise Inn in Bradenton. Police say at 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 4, Darryl Hanna Jr. was on his way to the Zota with Latoya Hanna, Damien Garvin and Gernicha Davis. They were in a white rental van. 

But Darryl Hanna Jr. wasn’t going to work. 

When they arrived, Latoya Hanna and Darryl Hanna Jr. exchanged nine phone calls between 2:01 a.m. and 2:33 a.m.

Approximately six minutes later, it was go time. Latoya would wait for them in the white van. 

Police say before entering the reception area of the Zota, Darryl Hanna Jr. looked behind him and made a throat-slashing gesture across his neck with his thumb.

Darryl Hanna Jr. then entered the doors on the west side of the lobby wearing dark slacks and a white, unbuttoned shirt — the same clothes he wears in his Facebook profile picture. He donned a hood, mask and gloves. His left hand clutched a pistol, according to the arrest warrant.

Davis and Garvin entered through another set of doors to the north, an area without security camera coverage. Garvin carried a 9 mm handgun, legally registered to Latoya Hanna, his girlfriend. 

Damien Garvin: Gunman
Courtesy image

The group confronted Carter. He was unarmed. Darryl Hanna Jr. and the others held him at gunpoint. They ordered him to get on the ground. He lay flat on the ground near the front desk. 

Hurley was at the front desk, and they told him to give them all the money in the cash drawers. $900. 

Now it was time to go for the safe. Darryl Hanna Jr. might have assumed there was a lot more money in there. During his previous shifts at the Zota, he had taken videos of the safe. 

Garvin took Hurley back to the safe, behind a wall partition, and commanded him to open it. He said he didn’t know the combination. 

Garvin shot Hurley, according to the police affidavit. 

Hurley cried out. 

Garvin threatened to kill Hurley if he didn’t open the safe. But Hurley didn’t know how to open it. 

Gernicha Davis: Accomplice & Informant
Courtesy image

Another gunshot. This one killed Hurley. 

Around 2:47 a.m. Darryl Hanna Jr. called their getaway driver, Latoya. She was ready to go with the van. 

As they made their escape, Garvin shot Carter dead, according to Latoya Hanna’s arrest affidavit. 

There was enough time during their escape for Darryl Hanna Jr. to snap pictures of Carter and Hurley’s bodies with his cellphone. 

The four took off in the van, presumably heading back to their motel room in Bradenton. 

Nearly 40 minutes later, at 3:25 a.m., a hotel guest entered the lobby and saw Carter dead on the ground. The hotel guest called 911. 

The investigation

Longboat Key officers arrived on scene at 3:32 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2017. 

They found Carter dead on the floor of the Zota’s lobby. Then they found Hurley behind the wall partition, in front of the safe. 

Lodged in one of the lobby walls was a .32-caliber bullet. On the ground were 9 mm shell casings. It was later determined that 9 mm bullets killed both victims.

Security camera footage only showed one suspect entering the building. The police could see what the man was wearing. They determined that he was between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet tall, and that he was most likely left-handed. 

The different calibers of bullets found on the scene struck investigators as odd, according to Bourque. It’s rare for a single-suspect armed robbery to leave different types of bullets on the scene.

Authorities speak to guests outside the Zota Beach Resort on Aug. 4, 2017, after a double homicide took place at the resort.
Photo by Eric Garwood

Investigators immediately released the security camera footage to the media, hoping for a bite. 

A tip came in later that same morning, Aug. 4. 

One of Darryl Hanna Jr.’s co-workers from the Zota said the man in the footage had similar mannerisms to Darryl Hanna Jr. — the way he walked and turned around along with the general shape of his body. The tipster had worked with Darryl Hanna Jr. at least a dozen times before. 

Police also spoke with Ron Filbert, owner of Victory Security and Darryl Hanna Jr.’s boss. Filbert said Darryl Hanna Jr. was the only employee of his who did not call to ask about the shooting and find out which employee was killed.

Filbert also said he called Darryl Hanna Jr. in to work a job on Aug. 4, but Darryl Hanna Jr. said he could not work anymore because he took another job as a nursing home cook. 

Darryl Hanna Jr.’s only question was: “How many times did they get shot?”

Investigators compared the security footage from Aug. 4 to footage of Darryl Hanna Jr. working at the resort on Aug. 2, 2017 — similar height, similar clothing. 

Darryl Hanna Jr. also had previously posted pictures on Facebook of himself, holding a .380-caliber handgun in his left hand and wearing a holster on his left side. One of his comments on the post said “I have a 9 (mm) as well.” 

Detectives received a warrant for a cellphone search. 

First was just a surface-level location check of his phone, which showed he was in Miami. Bourque described it as a search of, “where is he now?”

Then came a more historic cell-site location data check that Bourque described as “where has he been?” 

“That cell-site information put Darryl Hanna Jr. in the area of the Zota during the time frame of the murders,” Bourque said. 

At 5:32 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2017, Darryl Hanna Jr.’s location showed him driving across Alligator Alley, heading back to Bradenton. 

When Darryl Hanna Jr. returned to Bradenton, police surveilled him as he met up with Davis near a park.

Police watched from afar as Darryl Hanna Jr. talked with his hands, pointed his fingers like a gun and demonstrated the act of shooting. 

This was enough to interview Davis the following day. But she didn’t give them any information, and detectives let her go.

A day later, Davis left the state for Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver. 

Bourque said after he and other detectives spoke with Davis, they realized that Darryl Hanna Jr. deleted the Facebook pictures of himself with his gun. 

There was enough for an arrest warrant, Bourque said. 

On Aug. 9, 2017, five days after the murders, police arrested Darryl Hanna Jr. He was held in Manatee County Jail without bond.

When Darryl Hanna Jr. was arrested, police searched his belongings and his car. Inside the car, they found a mask, multiple phones, a .380-caliber pistol, a .32-caliber bullet and an afro wig. 

Investigators believe Darryl Hanna Jr. wore the wig during the July 21 attempt at the Zota that Carter thwarted. 


With Darryl Hanna Jr. in custody, the items found in his car — especially the .380-caliber gun and .32-caliber bullet — became crucial pieces of evidence, especially after detectives dug up the July 21, 2017, incident. 

At the crime scene, officers found the .32-caliber bullet in the wall, and 9 mm shells on the ground. But no .380-caliber bullets. 

The investigation tested Darryl Hanna Jr.’s .380-caliber handgun and found that the gun could fire both .32- and .380-caliber bullets, Bourque said. Further tests revealed the .32-caliber bullet found at the scene had markings that proved it was fired from a gun chamber that was too large for it. 

Another connection. 

While he was in custody, his twin sister, Latoya Hanna, called. Darryl Hanna Jr. said he couldn’t talk about the case, only about family.

He might have known the calls were monitored. 

“As long as you aren’t telling them anything,” Latoya Hanna replied.

On Sept. 9, 2017, Darryl Hanna Jr. suffered a stroke-like event, according to Bourque. He fell into a coma the next day.

Darryl Hanna Jr. had planned to enter a plea of not guilty, according to his attorney at the time. 

He never woke up and was never tried in conjunction with the crimes committed on Aug. 4. 

This is when things started to slow down, Bourque said. 

The informant

A year after Darryl Hanna Jr. fell into a coma, detectives were examining every possible lead. That’s when Bourque said they decided to look closer at the phones recovered in his car, which had been in evidence. 

Originally, police thought one of the phones belonged to Carter. Carter’s phone wasn’t found on the scene.

But Darryl Hanna Jr. had just bought a new phone, like all the other suspects did after Aug. 4, 2017. Instead of getting rid of his old phone like the police thought he did, he left his old phone in his car. The old phone was the one that was assumed to be Carter’s, since they were the same type. 

Detectives discovered this in early October 2018, and executed a search warrant for the phone on Oct. 17, 2018. 

It was a “treasure trove” of information, Bourque said. 

More text messages furthered detectives’ suspicion that Latoya Hanna was involved, and historic cell-site data proved she was in the area of the Zota during the time of the event. 

Bourque also discovered that Latoya Hanna had rented the Sunrise Inn motel room on Aug. 3, 2017. 

Other text messages the detectives combed through tied Davis to the crime as well. The messages showed Darryl Hanna Jr. texted Davis frequently and had texted her about setting up the robbery. 

Messages also showed that Latoya Hanna and Darryl texted about Latoya’s “baby daddy” coming to help with the Aug. 4 robbery. Latoya had three children with Garvin, according to Bourque. 

“We had enough to arrest her, but we didn’t feel we had enough to prosecute her at the time,” Bourque said. “And so the investigation went on for years, and we dug up additional information.” 

Holding out hope

Bourque kept pictures of Hurley and Carter above his desk — a reminder to remain persistent and that justice isn’t served until everyone is arrested.

Police Chief Pete Cumming congratulates newly promoted Lt. Robert Bourque at a ceremony on Sept. 5, 2017.
Photo by Katie Johns

Three years after the Zota murders, Darryl Hanna Jr. was in custody but in a comatose state, Davis was talking and two other suspects were still at large — Latoya Hanna and Garvin. 

There still wasn’t enough evidence yet. 

When pursuing a case like this, Bourque needs to be sure to have enough evidence to prosecute. There’s no statute of limitations on murder, but if the case was taken to trial and came up short, there’s the risk that the suspects would remain free and could commit more crimes. 

It’s a balancing act, Bourque said. How long does an investigator hold out for more evidence, knowing the suspects are still at large? 

Bourque and the team continued to parse through text messages and other cellphone data, trying to find leads. At the same time, Bourque checked police databases monthly, waiting for either Latoya Hanna or Garvin to show up in arrest records somewhere. 

Then, finally, it happened.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Bourque discovered that Garvin was arrested for an unrelated murder in North Miami Beach. 

Garvin had been arrested on Jan. 7, 2020, and the record popped up in the database Bourque was routinely checking. 

Bourque reached out to the detective assigned to the Miami Beach murder. He told Bourque the murder weapon was a 9 mm handgun. 

There were 9 mm shell casings at the Zota crime scene. 

“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t believe there was a chance that that same murder weapon was our murder weapon,” Bourque said. “But I needed to check.”

Bourque reached out to the Miami-Dade ballistics lab, where the gun was being held. He asked a supervisor to compare shell casings on file for the Zota murders to the handgun used by Garvin in the Miami Beach murder. 

The data was stored in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network database.

“It’s kind of like a fingerprint system, but for shell casings and bullets,” Bourque said.

Bourque got a call back from the lab. 

A supervisor told him that the shell casings from the Miami Beach murder and the shell casings from the Zota murder were fired from the same 9 mm handgun.

Police in Miami-Dade County also discovered that the gun was legally registered to Latoya Hanna. 

Closing in

In Latoya Hanna’s interview with detectives after the Miami Beach murder, they asked her how Garvin, a convicted felon, had possession of her firearm. 

She said they were moving and she had put the gun in the trunk of her car. 

But, she also said that prior to the murder in Miami Beach, the gun was kept locked in a safe in her bedroom where nobody else had access. 

“Well how does that gun kill two people on Longboat Key?” Bourque asked. 

Bourque then asked for the gun to be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for further testing. There, analysts would fire the gun to test shell casings and confirm the connection in the lab. 

After Bourque found out Garvin was arrested in January 2020, he decided it was time to pursue another suspect: Davis. 

He flew to Colorado on Sept. 23, 2020, and found her in Aurora. 

“She initially wasn’t talking, but then when we put down transcripts in front of her with all of her text messages with Darryl (Hanna Jr.), she confessed her involvement and told us what happened,” Bourque said. 

In Davis’ “lengthy statement,” she implicated herself, Darryl Hanna Jr., Latoya Hanna and Garvin, and gave details about the night of the murders. 

But, according to an online obituary, Davis died Nov. 23, 2020, in Colorado.

Then, on May 2, 2023, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab revealed that a shell casing from the Zota scene was fired by Latoya Hanna’s 9 mm handgun. 

Bourque had enough evidence — the text messages, Davis’ statement and the murder weapon — to bring in Latoya Hanna on an arrest warrant. 

The process took a little while to get all the paperwork in place, but then Bourque said they were ready to make the arrest. 

Latoya Hanna was in St. Lucie County. 

St. Lucie County officers helped Bourque with surveillance for a couple of days. When they spotted Latoya Hanna getting into her car, they did a traffic stop and arrested her. 

She was transported to Manatee County where she will face a felony murder charge, punishable by life in prison. 

One suspect remains, Bourque said.

Garvin has already served about two years of his 10-year sentence for second-degree murder. 

Bourque believes Garvin will get his sentence reduced with good behavior. He could be out in a few years. 

“Our victims deserve justice,” Bourque said. “We’re hoping to get further information from Latoya to help us arrest and convict Damien (Garvin) of the double murders here on Longboat Key.” 



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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