A 58-year-old man in Arizona was is facing multiple felony charges for allegedly murdering his 80-year-old roommate and dismembering the man’s body with a chainsaw, which he then sold to a local pawn shop.
Thomas Wallace was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of theft of means of transportation, one count of concealing a dead body, and two counts of trafficking in stolen property in connection with the slaying of the elderly U.S. Air Force veteran, Phoenix CBS affiliate KTVK reported. The victim, whose family reportedly had not heard from him for several weeks, has not been identified by authorities.
According to the report, officers with the Phoenix Police Department responded to a request for a wellness check on the victim’s home, located near Campbell Avenue and 30th Street. He reportedly lived with diabetes and other health ailments. Police, with the assistance of firefighters, forced their way into the residence and were reportedly overtaken by an overwhelming odor.
Investigators searched the home and discovered two black trash bags inside one of the bedrooms which contained “different parts of the victim,” the report states. Homicide detectives responded to the scene where they reportedly found blood spatter on the floor, walls, furniture, and ceiling of the man’s living room.
The victim’s detached head was found in a laundry bin among a pile of linen, according to a report from Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV.
Police were reportedly able to locate the victim’s missing pickup truck at a local motel a few blocks away from the victim’s home. At the motel, they found Wallace and a woman, Ramona Gonzalez, both of whom reportedly lived with the victim on and off since sometime last year.
“She reportedly relapsed on illicit drugs, would pawn [the victim’s] possessions and routinely steal his vehicle,” court documents reportedly state.
Authorities reportedly monitored the motel and took both Wallace and Gonzalez into custody. Wallace reportedly refused to speak to police and requested an attorney.
Gonzalez is facing charges of fraud and theft.
During the ensuing investigation, police discovered that Wallace and Gonzalez on Oct. 26 went to a local pawn shop where they pawned a camera, camera bag, and a “10-inch chainsaw hedger with a pole attachment,” KTVK reported. The shop manager reportedly gave Wallace $50 for all three items.
Investigators could smell the odor of decomposition on the power tool and saw pieces of “torn flesh, ligaments, and biological matter” on the blade, Mesa NBC affiliate KPNX reported.
Ruby Lowry, who reportedly lived next door to the victim since the seventies, told KTVK that the victim was “a very good neighbor” who would “help anybody.”
“It’s a sad thing to happen to him. He didn’t deserve that,” she reportedly told the station. “I hope they get what they deserve because he would help anybody. That’s probably why he had them over there.”
The Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to messages from Law&Crime.
[image via Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]
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