DNA evidence led to the arrest of the man suspected in a 2014 murder, Tempe police said.
Xavier Williams, 34, was arrested Tuesday on an unrelated misdemeanor warrant after he was identified as an investigate lead in the fatal shooting of Michael Perez during a home invasion on on the evening of Dec. 30, 2014. police said.
Three armed men forced entry into a residence near Rural Road and Hermosa Drive in Tempe where Perez, his wife and 3-year-old son were, police said. Perez was killed during the break-in.
Tempe police said at the time the robbery was not believed to be a random act, and the house was purposefully targeted to steal marijuana from the home.
DNA found at the scene of the 2014 crime was determined to be a match of a sample taken from Williams at the time of his misdemeanor arrest, following processing by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Tempe police said.
During questioning by investigators, Williams admitted to being involved with the 2014 incident and was booked on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated robbery and kidnapping, according to court documents in the case.
The documents state Williams told police he was told to take “money and marijuana” from the residence after receiving “a phone call asking if he wanted to be involved in a robbery.”
Williams told police he struggled with the victim, enduring a blow to his head in the fight, according to court documents. He told police “he did not intend to fire the gun that it just went off. He advised there was a lot of blood and his hand might have slipped,” the documents say.
Court documents also state Williams said “he did not get anything out of the robbery,” but the other men involved in the incident fled with “an unknown amount of marijuana.”
Williams’ bond is set at $400,000 and his next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5.
“Several of the Tempe Police Officers and Detectives still have vivid memories of the investigation which began almost five years ago,” Tempe Police said in a statement. “The Tempe Police Department hopes this recent development will help the Perez family continue with their healing process.”
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