A St. Petersburg man with a history of violence toward prostitutes is facing a new charge of first-degree murder after police said he beat a woman to death in 2011.

Terry Allen Jr., 31, was already in the Pinellas County Jail, accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman, when he was charged in the death of Ellie Lynn Mason, 45.

"There were cops running in and out,” said neighbor Mickie Napinsky.  “Cars like sitting in front of my house for hours.  Just like undercover, though, and I would come home and there would be police cars circling the neighborhood all the time."

Mason was found dead in a vacant house on Sixth Avenue North in January 2011. Police said she had been beaten with a brick, and that she had been dead for several days before her body was found.

Mason had previously been arrested several times for prostitution, and police said they believe she was "actively engaged" in the practice at the time of her death, the report said.

Police said DNA found at the scene linked Allen to the crime. Allen admitted to police that he'd had sex with Mason at the house, but he denied killing her, police said.

"He's got quite a history involving assaults upon prostitutes," said Mike Puetz of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Allen was previously arrested in April 2011 on unrelated charges of kidnapping and attempted sexually battery involving a prostitute. Police said Allen has been suspected of other assaults on prostitutes in the past as well.

As for the neighbors where the murder took place, they are still in shock two years later.

"Kind of eerie,” said Napinsky.  “Totally creeping me out."

Police said Allen needs to be kept off the streets.

"The concern is he does pose what we believe to be a public safety threat,” said Puetz.  “We do not want to see him go back out on the street."

Allen is being held at the Pinellas County Jail with no bond.