Phoenix Pair Arrested After Elderly Veteran Roommate Found Dead and Dismembered.
A man who served this country and had a heart of gold was found dead after no one had heard from him for a month. Phoenix, Arizona police say that the man's family hadn't been able to reach him so they went to his home to do a welfare check but no one was at the home. According to AZ Family, Neighbors said they had previously seen homeless people often at his home. Another two weeks went by, and no word from the man. So police went to his house and, with the help of firefighters, forced their way into the home. Officers said it smelled really bad. So they searched the home and found two black trash bags inside the bedroom, which had different parts of the victim, investigators said.
Homicide investigators arrived the next day and found blood on the living room ceiling, on several walls and furniture. It appeared somebody 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 down to a motel down the street. That’s where they found Thomas Wallace, and Romana Gonzalez, who lived off and on with the victim, according to court records. Both were taken into custody on Thursday. Wallace requested a lawyer, but Gonzalez talked to the police. She said she wasn’t staying with the victim recently because of Wallace’s behavior. It’s unclear when Wallace killed the man, according to court records, but Gonzalez said she and a friend went to the man’s home on Sept. 30 and saw blood on the front living room floor. They later found the man’s body inside the house.
According to police, Wallace and Gonzalez pawned some of the man’s items last week. They included a camera bag with a camera and a 10-inch chainsaw hedger with a pole attachment. They received $50. Detectives later learned the bag had a portfolio with the victim’s business card, court paperwork said. 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.
The victim has been identified as 80-year-old Air Force veteran Kenneth Peterson. The neighborhood grandfather and handyman. Ruby Lowry has known Peterson since they moved onto the same street back in the 1970′s. “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 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.
This never should have happened. People who serve their country deserve to live their lives in peace.
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.