Suspect accused of setting a man on fire in Lake County identified, Sheriff’s Office says

Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies this week arrested a suspect who they believe fatally shot and set fire to a man near Leesburg about a year and a half ago.

On Dec. 17, 2021, deputies found Mustafa Connelly, 38, “lifeless and ablaze” on the passenger side of an orange Hyundai at 1645 Veech Road, according to an arrest warrant. His body was examined by the 5th District’s Medical Examiner’s Office, which listed his cause of death as “gunshot wounds of torso,” the affidavit states.

The suspect, 30-year-old Darion McGee, was meeting with Connelly frequently to set up a robbery, according to a witness listed in the affidavit.

Investigators said several witnesses, cell phone data and fingerprint comparisons suggests McGee was at the homicide scene and was responsible to bringing Connelly to an alleged ambush.

During the robbery, deputies say Connelly was shot in the back then set on fire to cover up the crime. The affidavit said investigators believe the incident is gang related.

McGee was released from the Florida Department of Corrections in Jan. 2020 for attempted first-degree murder and other charges.

He is a defendant in an ongoing arson case, where he was allegedly observed lighting another person on fire in March 2021. During the process McGee burned his own legs and then fled the scene, the affidavit said.

If convicted again he would be declared a habitual felony offender.

McGee is currently being held in jail and faces a second-degree murder charge.