MAYPORT, Fla. (AP) – Five people were found dead inside a home early Sunday after a SWAT team captured a man who had held police at bay in a 12-hour standoff.

The bodies were in different stages of decomposition in various rooms of the home. At least one of the victims had been dead for as many as 11 days, police spokesman Sgt. Scott McLeod said.

Williams Wells, 27, surrendered after police officers persuaded him to release his 4-year-old son, authorities said. The boy was unharmed.

Wells was charged with five counts of murder. He was being held at a hospital after telling police he had taken an overdose of prescription drugs.

Police withheld the victims’ identities pending notification of relatives.

But Wells told investigators he had killed his wife, Irene Tutti Wells, and four others, McLeod said. Most of the other victims were related, McLeod said.

Police had been called to the home Saturday afternoon, but backed away when Wells threatened suicide. Lt. David Coffman talked to him on the phone during the standoff, and police used a remote control robot to deliver a pizza, soda and electronics to the home.

Cecil Stanford, who operates Melanie’s Kitchen & Oyster Bar across the street from the house, said he called police after one of his cooks briefly went to the house and appeared shaken.

The cook had worked late Friday night and Wells invited him to come by to shower and rest, Stanford said. The cook noticed the odor when he entered the house and left.

“I don’t even know how he talked himself out of the house,” Stanford said.

AP-ES-05-25-03 2036EDT



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