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Crime News Murders

Arizona Man Allegedly Mutilated Eldery Air Force Veteran Roommate With Chainsaw He Later Pawned

Human remains were found in the blades of a chainsaw 58-year-old Thomas Wallace sold to a pawnshop for $50 after he allegedly murdered his 80-year-old roommate.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

An Arizona man who allegedly killed his 80-year-old roommate later sold the chainsaw police suspect he used to dismember his victim to a pawnshop, authorities said.

Thomas Wallace, 58, was charged with second-degree murder after the mutilated remains of an elderly man, identified by neighbors as his roommate Kenneth Peterson, were found in his Phoenix home, NBC affiliate KPNX reported. Ramona Gonzalez, who also previously stayed at the home where the slaying occurred, was jailed on suspicion of fraud and theft. 

On Nov. 1, officers responded to Wallace’s home near Interstate 17 and Indian School Road for a welfare check. Upon arrival, authorities observed “a strong foul odor" inside the property. In the home, the victim’s head was found by authorities in a pile of linens. Decomposing body parts belonging to the victim were also located inside trash bags. According to officials, blood was present on the residence’s furniture, walls and ceiling. Investigators also found evidence that the crime scene had been partially cleaned. 

RELATED: Arkansas Dad Allegedly Amputated Leg With Chop Saw While 5-Year-Old Daughter Watched

Police didn’t specify when the victim may have been killed.

On Oct. 26, surveillance video captured Wallace and Gonzalez walking into a pawnshop where the pair were allegedly paid $50 in exchange for hocking some of the victim’s belongings, including the 10-inch chainsaw which police believe was used in the commission of the suspected killing. 

Human remains, including mutilated flesh and muscular tissue, were allegedly later found on the chainsaw, per KPNX. Police said the chainsaw had an “an odor of decomposition.” 

A police handout of Thomas Wallace

Business cards belonging to the victim were also found in a camera bag that Wallace and Gonzalez sold, according to officials.

Neighborhood residents had told law enforcement they hadn’t seen the deceased victim in weeks before news of his death broke. Police say the man’s family became concerned for his welfare, too. 

"Family was concerned because [the victim] had diabetes and might have passed away in the residence," court records stated.

Neighbors identified the elderly victim as Air Force veteran Kenneth Peterson. 

"It’s sick," neighbor Minoca Moreno told Phoenix television station Fox10 ."It’s sick to do something like that to another human being."

“It’s a sad thing to happen to him,” fellow resident Ruby Lowry also told KPTV.” He didn’t deserve that. I hope they get what they deserve because he would help anybody. That’s probably why he had them over there.”

Lowry, who said she’d lived next to Peterson since the 1970s, added that he was known locally as a reliable neighbor and the block handyman.

“He was a very good neighbor,” she added. “He would help anybody. It’s a sad thing to happen to him. He didn’t deserve that.”

Wallace is being held on a $1 million cash bond. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation to comment on his behalf. No other information was immediately available.

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