Bell Shooter Don Spirit: An Extensive Criminal History


Before Don Spirit, 51, committed a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of his daughter Sarah Spirit and her six children, he had an extensive criminal record that included multiple felony and misdemeanor charges from multiple Florida Counties.

The scene at Spirit’s home near NW 30th St. and NW 39th Terrace in Bell, Fla. was reported by Spirit via a 911 call he made at about 4 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 18.

According to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, Spirit shot his daughter Sarah Spirit, 28, and her six children: Alanna Stewart, 3 months, Brandon Stewart, 4, Destiny Stewart, 5, Johnathon Kuhlmann, 8, Kylie Kuhlmann, 9, and Kaleb Kuhlmann, 11.

Court records from Pinellas, Osceola, Hillsborough and Gilchrist counties show a long list of misdemeanors and felonies attributed to Don Spirit. His minor offenses include possession of marijuana, driving with an expired registration and driving without a valid driver’s license.

But the list continues.

In 1994, Spirit was arrested in Hillsborough County for driving without a license and his involvement in an accident that resulted in a death, according to public records obtained via the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hillsborough County.

Also in Hillsborough, Spirit was found guilty of battery, a class one misdemeanor, in 1992. In 1995, Spirit was found guilty of depriving a child of food and shelter.

In Pinellas County, Spirit was found liable in six non-criminal cases involving traffic violations such as a driver possessing an open container and driving with a suspended license, according to the County’s Clerk of Court’s public records. Pinellas County records showed Spirit was also convicted for habitually driving with a revoked license, a felony offense.

Spirit spent three years in jail because of a hunting accident in 2001 that left Spirit’s son Kyle, then 8-years-old, dead according to the Orlando Sentinel. Since Spirit was already categorized as a felon from a previous Hillsborough County case, he was found guilty of felony possession of a firearm and served three years in jail from 2003 to 2006.

About Erica A. Hernandez

Erica is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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