Man accused of killing, dismembering roommate with chainsaw
PHOENIX (KTVK/KPHO/Gray News) - After a man’s body was found dismembered in his Phoenix home, police arrested his roommate, who is now facing multiple felonies in connection to his death.
WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing to some readers.
Police in Phoenix conducted a welfare check at the home of a man who hadn’t talked to his family for about a month. With the help of firefighters, they forced their way into the home. Officers said it smelled really bad, so they searched the home and found two black trash bags in the bedroom.
Investigators say the bags contained the man’s body parts.
The victim has not been identified, but neighbors told Arizona’s Family he was an Air Force veteran in his 80s.
The day after the victim’s body was found, homicide investigators found blood on the living room ceiling, several walls and furniture. It appeared someone had tried to clean up the blood on the floor.
Police say detectives searched a pile of linens and discovered a human head attached to his upper body that was cut off, which belonged to the victim.
Investigators discovered the man’s car was missing and tracked it to a motel down the street. That’s where they found the victim’s roommate, Thomas Wallace, and Romana Gonzalez, who lived off and on with the victim, according to court records.
Both were taken into custody Thursday.
Wallace was booked into jail on one count of first-degree murder, one count of theft of means of transportation, two counts of trafficking stolen property and one count of concealing a dead body.
Gonzalez was booked into jail on fraud and theft charges.
Wallace requested a lawyer, but Gonzalez spoke with police. She said she wasn’t staying with the victim recently because of Wallace’s behavior.
The timeline of the victim’s death is unclear, according to court records, but Gonzalez said she and a friend went to his home on Sept. 30 and saw blood on the front livingroom floor. They later found the man’s body inside the house.
Police say Wallace and Gonzalez pawned some of the victim’s items last week for $50, including a camera bag with a camera and a 10-inch chainsaw hedger with a pole attachment. Detectives later learned the bag had a portfolio with the victim’s business card, according to court paperwork.
When investigators confiscated and processed the chainsaw, they could smell decomposition on it and saw pieces of flesh and torn ligaments on the blade, police said.
Neighbors, like Ruby Lowry, were stunned to hear something so violent happened there. She has known the victim since they moved onto the same street back in the 1970s.
“He was a very good neighbor. He would help anybody. It’s a sad thing to happen to him. He didn’t deserve that,” she said.
Lowry says the victim was the neighborhood handyman. She noticed people were coming and going pretty often from the home but never expected any of those people would be accused murderers.
“I hope they get what they deserve because he would help anybody. That’s probably why he had them over there,” she said.
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