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Arizona Man Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Roommate Before Setting Apartment On Fire
Ishmael Williams denied killing his roommate but told authorities the pair had fought minutes before the fire over the victim's inability to pay rent.
An Arizona man is accused of murdering his roommate and setting fire to their apartment in an effort to destroy the crime scene, according to police.
Ishmael Kojo Abor Williams, 32, was arrested on Saturday at the scene of a fire near 51st Avenue and Encanto Boulevard in west Phoenix, according to Fox 10 Phoenix. When firefighters and officers with the Phoenix Police Department reported to the burning apartment at around 3:00 p.m., Williams was attempting to put out the flames.
A 33-year-old unidentified male victim was found dead inside “with obvious signs of trauma,” said police. According to Fox 10, authorities found Williams covered in blood.
“Ismael [sic] told investigators he did not touch the victim; however, blood [was] discovered on his hands, calves, feet,” court documents obtained by the outlet read. “Blood spatter was found on a pair of basketball shorts Ishmael was wearing.”
After the fire was extinguished, first responders entered the home and they found the victim facedown in his bedroom, according to ABC 15 Arizona. The victim was brought into the living room, where it was discovered he had suffered an apparent stab wound to his neck.
He died a short time later, according to AZ Central.
Authorities found a bloody butcher knife and a gas can inside the victim's bedroom. AZ Central reports that Williams admitted to investigators that the gas can belonged to him but said he had nothing to do with the victim’s death. He also confirmed to authorities that he and the victim were the only ones home when the fire started.
Williams told police that he and the victim had argued over the victim’s inability to pay rent and the living conditions of the home, including how dirty the roommate left the apartment, according to AZ Central. Williams allegedly claimed that the victim then went into his bedroom and closed the door behind him.
About 15 minutes later, Williams told police that he heard a loud noise coming from the victim’s bedroom.
The victim’s door was locked.
“Ishmael forced entry into the bedroom,” court documents stated. “As the door was opened, Ishmael stated the victim was standing inside the room, engulfed in flames.”
That’s when Williams said he ran outside and called for help before returning to the kitchen to fill a bucket of water to try and put out the fire.
“Evidence at the scene, as well as interviews conducted, led detectives to arrest Mr. Williams,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Vincent Cole, according to Fox 10.
Court records reflect that Williams has been charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with evidence. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on April 12.
His bail has been set at $1 million, according to AZ Central.