Hunter Tyson told investigators the plot to kill Ted Lee was hatched over a night of cough syrup consumption and cutting

August 04, 2016 03:45 PM

A teenage Florida girl has been accused of homicide after authorities allege she arranged for her boyfriend and best friend to kill the man she claimed had long been molesting her, PEOPLE confirms.

Police allege the trio’s fatal plan was two months in the making, according to arrest and court records obtained by PEOPLE. It began, police say, after Lavaya May opened up to boyfriend Jonathan Ruffini and friend Hunter Tyson about allegedly being sexually abused for more than seven years by 58-year-old Ted Lee.

The scheme ended in July, when Ruffini, 18, and Tyson, 23, allegedly beat and stabbed Lee to death in his own home, before stealing his car to leave the state, police say.

(Police would not comment on the validity of May’s allegations against Lee.)

Their alleged crime was also discussed in text messages, police say.

Authorities interviewed May’s mother, who told them her daughter left suddenly the night of the homicide, July 14, after allegedly receiving a text message from her boyfriend that read, “It’s time.”

Chelsea Babcock, May’s sister, also allegedly told investigators that May confessed in text messages to having Lee killed, allegedly telling Babcock that Ruffini and Tyson “did it for me.” Police claim Babcock told them she erased her sister’s alleged messages “because she was scared and confused about the admissions her sister had made.”

Arrest records obtained by PEOPLE show that May, Ruffini and Tyson were headed to Colorado in Lee’s Toyota Corolla when they were apprehended on July 18 by authorities in Kansas.

Police claim the car’s interior appeared to be stained with a substance that was later determined to be Lee’s dried blood.

Ruffini and Tyson face homicide, credit card fraud and vehicle theft charges in Florida’s Lee County, in connection with Lee’s death, while May is charged with one count of homicide, according to their arrest reports.

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They have yet to enter pleas to the charges against them, according to a court clerk. It was not immediately clear if they had retained attorneys.

Arrest records show that Tyson had a previous run-in with police in 2006, when, at the age of 13, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a pregnant woman. He was sentenced to probation that he violated in 2015, resulting in a three-month prison stint, according to records.

From left: Hunter Tyson and Jonathan Ruffini
Lee County Sheriff's Office

Happy to See Him Dead?

Police say it started and ended with a car ride.

During questioning, May allegedly told investigators she had called Lee on July 13 asking for a ride. He picked her up and drove her back to his Buckingham, Florida, house, where she stayed the night. The next morning, after Lee went to work, she allegedly called Tyson and Ruffini, who came armed with a 10-pound baseball bat and a knife.

Tyson allegedly told detectives a friend drove him and Ruffini to a parking lot, where they took a path through woods to get to Lee’s home. Once they’d allegedly gotten inside, they allegedly told May to go to her grandmother’s house before waiting all day for Lee to return.

According to Ruffini’s statements to police, Tyson allegedly hit Lee “15 to 20 times” in the head with the baseball bat – and one of the blows was so powerful, it sent a piece of Lee’s skull into the wall, where it lodged in the sheetrock.

When Lee fell to the ground, Ruffini allegedly told police, he approached him and stabbed him in the torso. Ruffini said Tyson allegedly then took the knife and shoved it back into Lee’s abdomen before twisting the blade.

Arrest reports allege that when May returned after the slaying, she immediately hugged Tyson and Ruffini and “was happy to see Lee deceased.”

Tyson and Ruffin allegedly wrapped Lee’s body in blankets, sheets and an area rug. Police allege May held the front door open for Tyson and Ruffini, who carried Lee’s remains out to the dead man’s truck before the three dumped him behind a church dumpster.

They then allegedly climbed into Lee’s car and drove off. Along the way, they allegedly used his credit cards to purchases two cell phones, according to arrest reports.

Authorities were called to Lee’s home after neighbors saw two males lifting “what appeared to be a body” into the back of the truck, according to arrest records. Cops arrived to find blood splatter on the walls and ceiling fan.

There was also blood on the floor, indicating the body was dragged to the door, where investigators claim a pool of blood had formed.

Police also claim to have recovered emptied bottles of bleach from the scene. They allege the trio tried to clean up after themselves.

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