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Gainesville man serving life sentence for murder confesses to unsolved 1990 murder

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Terry Lee Mack, 57, has been transported from state prison to Alachua County to face a homicide charge after confessing to the February 28, 1990, murder of Essie Camps, who was 84 at the time.

Mack was serving a life sentence at Liberty Correctional Institute for the 1991 murder of Jeffrey Jones in Gainesville when a warden at the prison called Gainesville Police Department (GPD) in October of 2019 to say Mack had information about Camps’ murder. Post Miranda, Mack told a GPD detective and State Attorney Investigator that he had stabbed Camps.

Mack was well-known to the Camps family and regularly visited the residence. According to the sworn complaint, Macks quit his job on the morning of the murder and had been using crack and drinking alcohol. He went to the Camps residence on the morning of the murder to borrow money for drugs, and Camps reportedly gave him some money. Mack said he returned in the afternoon, and Camps asked him to get a glass of water. He got a glass of water from the kitchen, and Camps asked for another glass of water later in their conversation. Mack told the investigators that he took the glass back to the kitchen and returned with a knife. The investigators noted that after the murder, a glass was found on the stove top with latent prints belonging to Mack.

Mack said he returned to where Camps was sitting in a recliner and began stabbing him. Mack said Camps yelled for help, but Mack put his hand over his mouth and continued to stab him. Mack said he then took Camps’ wallet, looked through it, dropped it, and left the scene on a bicycle. Mack returned later to gather with friends and family of the victim. Mack told investigators that he had no intention of killing Camps when he went to his home.

The State Attorney filed a charge of second-degree murder on March 23, 2022, and Mack was transported to the Alachua County Jail on May 4.

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According to his obituary, Camps was a semi-retired landscaper and chair of the Deacon Board at Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church of Gainesville at the time of his death.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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