BRAWL THAT LEFT ONE MAN DEAD IN COMMUNITY PARK BEGAN WITH A FIGHT OVER STOLEN VALOR, REPORT SAYS

a mug shot of a man with long hair
Lee Charles Quinn remains in MCSO’s custody after allegedly punching another man until he died at Marathon Community Park. MCSO/Contributed

A 37-year-old homeless Marathon man is facing murder charges after a fight in Marathon Community Park that began over allegations of stolen valor, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

As of press time, Lee Charles Quinn remains in custody as he prepares to face second-degree murder charges after repeatedly punching 54-year-old William “Bill” Claude Prichett in a pavilion at Marathon Community Park on May 25, according to MCSO records. After being discovered unconscious and unresponsive, Prichett was transported to Fishermen’s Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

According to Quinn’s arrest report, multiple witnesses said the two men had been in a verbal confrontation over Quinn’s claims of military service. When Pritchett challenged those claims, they said, Quinn attacked him, continuing to punch him multiple times in the head and neck area after Pritchett had already fallen to the ground. One of the witnesses attempted to pull Quinn away to protect Pritchett, at which point Quinn began punching him in the face and arms as well, the report states.

A second witness said that after leaving the area of the fight, he was approached by an “irate” Quinn near the park’s bathrooms, with Quinn yelling statements like “Do you want to be next?” before throwing two unopened pocket knives at him.

When confronted by deputies on his bicycle nearby, the report states, Quinn initially blamed the victim’s injuries on the other witnesses before changing his story and saying he began punching Pritchett after Pritchett had pulled him by his hair into the bushes.

In later interviews, the report says, Quinn admitted he “may have gone ‘overboard’” in punching a “frail” man, that he was a “professional fighter,” and that his first punch may have rendered Pritchett unconscious.

Quinn’s bond is set at $750,000, and it is unclear if he has legal representation. He has an extensive criminal record in Monroe County, including a March 2024 felony conviction from a November 2023 incident in which Quinn was arrested for allegedly punching another man. As he resisted arrest, Quinn threatened to kill multiple deputies and attempted to disarm one. After pleading no contest to the charges, Quinn was sentenced to 150 days in jail on March 11, 2024, with credit for 111 days served.

While initial reports listed Pritchett as homeless, acquaintances who contacted the Weekly identified him as an Army veteran and member of the Boot Key Harbor liveaboard community for more than 10 years.

“He was just a quiet guy, and had a mind like a steel trap,” Marathon city marina technician Karen Diehl, who was a friend of Pritchett’s, told the Weekly. “He was just a good guy, and I talked to him almost every day.”

Alex Rickert
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.