A Denver man who allegedly butchered his roommate and stuffed the corpse in two suitcases was arrested after detectives found his family name on a bag tag attached to the luggage, officials announced this week.
Benjamin Satterthwaite, 28, used a saw to dismember Joshua Lockard, whose remains were found in baggage deserted on a city sidewalk in late December, police said.
Two city workers stumbled upon a purple suitcase containing a human foot on Dec. 29, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com. Police said they also found a second black suitcase that contained a torso inside a trash bag that was wrapped in duct tape. A right leg and left upper thigh were also found in the purple suitcase. The head, arms, and left leg were missing, police said. The body had been dismembered using a “cutting instrument,” according to the city medical examiner.
The remains were identified as Lockard, who investigators said had last been seen alive around noon on Dec. 26. Authorities said that surveillance footage led them to suspect the suitcases were thrown from a “dark-colored” SUV hours before the macabre discovery.
An intact airline baggage tag with Satterthwaite’s surname on it was found attached to one of the bags. Detectives confirmed the baggage claim sticker was from a United Airlines flight that arrived in Denver at 8:53 a.m. on Dec. 21.
On New Year’s Day, police responded to a Denver apartment where they found an unresponsive woman who had died from an apparent drug overdose. Satterthwaite was found unconscious nearby in a “possible overdose situation,” according to the affidavit. He was transported to a hospital in critical condition.
Detectives said they observed an “excessive” amount of blood on the living room couch. A bloody saw and luggage that matched one of the suitcases containing Lockard’s dismembered corpse were also seized during the execution of a search warrant at the property. Several areas of the apartment also tested positive for cleaning chemicals, and the unit appeared “recently cleaned,” law enforcement said. Lockard’s bank card was also found inside the apartment.
Investigators later retrieved surveillance footage from a Walmart which appears to show a man resembling Satterthwaite purchasing a hacksaw and a mop on Dec. 27. But the individual couldn’t be positively identified by law enforcement.
“The male’s appearance is consistent with Benjamin Satterthwaite, however, his identity could not be confirmed because of a yellow mask over his face,” the affidavit stated.
Authorities said Satterthwaite allegedly later sent text messages implicating himself in his former roommate’s slaying. No motive in the killing is listed in the heavily redacted affidavit.
A witness told police that the two men were once roommates at the apartment where the apparent drug overdoses allegedly occurred. Lockard’s girlfriend was also known to stay at the residence, they said.
Lockard was previously homeless, abused methamphetamine, and had recently been kicked out of a rehabilitation program weeks before his murder, witnesses also told police. His autopsy is pending, prosecutors said.
The 33-year-old was a father who had college aspirations and loved to skateboard, according to his Facebook profile. He worked at a drug screening facility in Lakewood, Colorado.
Satterthwaite faces first-degree murder and tampering with a deceased human body charges. He's being held without bond at a city detention center, online jail records show. Satterthwaite appeared in Denver District Court on Jan. 19. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. He has requested a public defender.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case on Thursday.
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