Tempe Police: Online ad leads to suspect setting man on fire
TEMPE (KSAZ) - A gruesome murder: a young man's body was found inside his burning home. Police have made an arrest in the case and detectives believe his motive was to steal the victim's video game console and other electronics.
25-year-old Mikel Martin was arrested Wednesday night. Police say they were led to him after several interviews and items belonging to the victim,27-year-old Martin Valenzuela, were pawned.
"I'm happy that he will no longer be on the streets to hurt anybody else or do something like that to somebody else," said the victim's sister, Mona Espinoza.
Martin is now behind bars, charged with the death of Valenzuela.
Valenzuela was killed on July 24th in his Tempe apartment near Mill Avenue and U.S. 60.
"He was really one of a kind. Regardless of what he was going through, he was going to be there to help you," said Espinoza.
Espinoza says although someone being charged in the death of her brother won't bring him back, it does bring some much needed peace.
"Knowing that he can rest in peace, knowing that the person got caught and we don't have to sit here and worry if they're still out there."
Police say an online Craigslist ad led to Martin and Valenzuela arranging to meet at Valenzuela's apartment. This is when officials say Martin set Valenzuela and the apartment on fire. Valenzuela was unconscious. Police say Martin then stole a Playstation, along with other electronics, and left the scene.
"Somebody did this to him over a few things in his apartment. It made no sense. If he was already unconscious, they could have just took his things and left," said Espinoza.
Martin is facing charges of first degree murder, burglary, arson, theft, endangerment and unlawful imprisonment.
Here's how to help the Valenzuela family: https://www.gofundme.com/2ncy7z6s