Police: Florida woman kills roommate, uses fire, soda to destroy evidence

Woman, 35, accused of killing 79-year-old man in Volusia County

Nichole A. Maks is facing charges for the murder of Michael Cerasoli on July in Volusia County. (VC)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A 35-year-old woman was facing charges in Volusia County for the murder of her 79-year-old roommate in Daytona Beach and for using fire to destroy the crime scene and soda to try to get rid of the DNA evidence on her body.

Detectives accused Nichole A. Maks of killing Michael Cerasoli on July 1 and setting the home they lived in on fire at about 1:45 a.m., at 622 Clark St., west of the Halifax River. Detectives reported finding a bloody knife near his body and cell phones belonging to Maks and Cerasoli in his bedroom.

Maks had blood on her leg and she dropped a knife and a hammer when detectives found her in Holly Hill, police said. Before they could test the blood on her, she asked detectives for a drink, and they handed her a Diet Mountain Dew, which she then poured all over herself, police said.

Deputies arrested Maks and corrections booked her at about 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 5, and she remained in jail held without bond on Wednesday, according to Volusia County inmate records. A judge ordered a mental health exam on Tuesday, court records show.

The medical examiner determined Cerasoli suffered stabs to his torso and blunt force trauma to the back of his head, and forensic investigators found DNA belonging to Maks on the handle of the bloody knife, according to prosecutors.

Maks is facing charges of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and resisting arrest with violence. Court records show she pleaded not guilty. Her next hearing is on Sept. 5.

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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.