Nichole A. Maks, a lady from Florida, has been charged with first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and resisting arrest in the August 5 death of Michael Cerasoli, 79.
The lady was taken into custody after a house fire in the 600 block of Clark Street. Cerasoli had blunt force damage to the head and knife wounds to the chest when first responders discovered him lying facedown in a blood-splattered room.
The landlord said Maks was his other tenant besides the deceased man, but she was nowhere to be located. The 79-year-old’s phone and Maks’s phone were found next to the body, with a bloody knife propped up on top of it. A little over two hours later, authorities found a bloodied and shirtless Maks outside a restaurant (Krystal) in the adjacent town of Holly Hill. Police say she threw a knife and hammer at their feet as they approached.
When asked where she resided and where she had been recently, Maks would only gesture in a particular direction before declaring that she had been homeless for the last four years. Police say she admitted to knowing the victim under questioning, but she denied meeting him on the day he was slain. After that, she told officers she was staying with Cerasoli and had been there earlier that day.
According to the probable cause document, the Daytona Beach police questioned Maks. Maks, after being read her rights, informed police she had never been in Cerasoli’s bedroom and had only gone up to the second floor of the property to “feed her spiders.” After being questioned by police about the firearms she had dropped, Maks allegedly got “agitated” and wanted legal representation. The police returned with a warrant to do DNA testing on the blood on the woman’s body.
When Maks requested a Diet Mountain Dew, the officers complied. The affidavit states that Maks “began to fight and dumped the can of soda all over her body and hair” to tamper with evidence on her person.
Daytona Beach News-Journal claimed that DNA from Maks was detected on the knife handle near Cerasoli’s corpse and that the blood on the knife matched samples collected from her clothes.
Maks is being detained without bail in the Volusia County Jail until his September 5 court date.