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Teen, 15, charged in death at mud bog

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By The Staff

A 15-year-old New Port Richey boy is charged with manslaughter in the stabbing death of a man on Saturday at Horse Hole Creek Mud Bog near Inglis, according to a Levy County Sheriff's Office press release.

Roderic L. Sparks, 24, of Crystal River, was pronounced dead at Seven Rivers Memorial Hospital in Crystal River where he was taken following an altercation at the mud pit.

Christopher Suterlin Jr., 15, is charged with manslaughter and incarcerated at Levy County Jail. State law allows the publication of a juvenile's name when charged with a felony.

When deputies arrived at the scene emergency personnel were working on the victim. Witnesses advised that the suspect in the stabbing was in a nearby blue Jeep being blocked by citizens who prevented the suspect from leaving the scene. 

The incident started when Christopher Sutherlin Sr. had a verbal altercation with Sparks that turned into a physical fight. Spars was getting the best of the Sutherlin Sr. when the son stabbed him in the upper torso. The bog had to be shut down when the weapon could not be immediately located Saturday night. Deputies returned on Sunday morning and recovered a knife  from the mud pit.

The fight occurred during the 2nd Annual Redneck Games Festival at the facility that offers mud bogging, camping and concerts. The mud bog competitions Saturday had prizes of $1,000 to $3,000. There were other activities like the "Sexy Mechanical Bull Riding Contest" on Saturday and the "Boots and Bikini Contest" on Sunday that paid $500 and $250 prizes, respectively. 

Other events like tire changing, duck tape races, belly flops, tug of war and more were also scheduled for family fun.

The stabbing is the second homicide for Levy County, a rare occurrence. Earlier this month a grand jury indicted a Trenton man on first degree murder in the death of his girlfriend. Gary Andrew "Andy" Sullivan, 35, reported finding his girlfriend hanging from a tree at their residence after the two had an argument on April 8.

There was one homicide in 2009 when Charles Edwin Duke, 23, shot his bride Felicia Fine, 22, one day after they returned from their honeymoon. He was convicted of premeditated first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

There were no homicides in the county in 2010 or 2008.