Man accused of killing roommate, burning body to cover up crime

WARNING: This story contains graphic content and may be disturbing to some viewers.

A man accused of violently killing his roommate inside a west Phoenix apartment has been arrested.

According to Phoenix Police, officers and firefighters responded to the scene near 51st Avenue and Encanto Boulevard at around 3 p.m. on April 2. Once there, police discovered there was a fire, and 32-year-old Ishmael Williams was trying to put it out.

After the fire was extinguished, a 33-year-old man was found inside "with obvious signs of trauma." He was not identified.

According to court documents, the victim had a large cut to his neck and appeared to have been set on fire.

Williams, the victim's roommate, told police he and his roommate were arguing about rent and how dirty the apartment was.

Williams said he went to his bedroom and shut the door. Fifteen minutes later, he said he heard a loud noise coming from his roommate's bedroom and tried to open the door, but it was locked.

32-year-old Ishmael Williams

"Ishmael forced entry into the bedroom. As the door was opened, Ishmael stated the victim was standing inside the room engulfed in flames," read a portion of the court documents.

Williams said he ran outside and called for help before going to the kitchen, filling up a bucket of water, and pouring it on his roommate to douse the flames.

"Ismael [sic] told investigators he did not touch the victim, however blood [was] discovered on his hands, calves, feet. Blood spatter was found on a pair of basketball shorts Ishmael was wearing," court documents read.

Police said a bloody butcher knife was also found in the victim's bedroom, as well as a gas can.

Williams denied hurting his roommate or starting the fire.

"Evidence at the scene, as well as interviews conducted led Detectives to arrest Mr. Williams," Phoenix Police Sgt Vincent Cole said in a statement.

Williams was booked into jail and is accused of homicide. He is being held on a $1 million bond.

Arizona Headlines

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 10 News app. It is FREE! Download for Apple iOS or Android.