DALLAS — A Texas man has been accused of killing at least two homeless men, bludgeoning them to death in the street with a sledgehammer.
Adelaido Amaya Esparza, 57, of Dallas, is charged with two counts of murder, according to Dallas County Jail records. His bail has been set at a total of $1 million.
They found Billmeier dead on the ground at a DART bus stop, the Dallas Morning News reported. Since the homeless man had no identification on him, fingerprints were required to identify him, authorities said.
Exactly a month later, Daniel Williams Slusser, 60, was found bludgeoned to death outside a strip mall at 2154 Fort Worth Ave., about a mile from the DART station. Like Billmeier, he had no identification and had to be identified through fingerprint analysis.
Slusser was asleep when he was attacked, an arrest affidavit states.
“The complainant had the blanket pulled over his head, covering his entire body,” according to the document.
The News reported Wednesday that it was unclear if Esparza had been linked to other recent slayings of homeless men — including the killing of a man found dead the day after Billmeier’s body was discovered.
Police officers were called shortly after midnight Oct. 21 to 4161 Lawnview Ave., where they found Paul Vincent Parker, 51, unresponsive with injuries to his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police officials said.
The arrest affidavit, which was obtained by the News, indicates that surveillance footage at the scenes of Billmeier’s and Slusser’s killings played an integral role in solving their homicide cases.
In the Oct. 20 slaying, surveillance footage from a nearby business showed someone strike Billmeier several times with an object, the newspaper reported. The camera was too far away, however, to let detectives identify the killer.
According to the affidavit, surveillance footage near the strip mall a month later showed someone go up to the sleeping Slusser and bludgeon him several times.
The footage showed a “white or Latin male wearing a blue overall outfit with a baseball hat, carrying a full-size sledgehammer with blood on the hammer and gray duct tape wrapped around the handle,” KRLD Radio in Dallas reported.
The assailant then put the bloody sledgehammer, which had duct tape wrapped around its handle, in a black Honda SUV and drove away.
The News reported that a detective searched a database for older model black Honda SUVs in the area. Esparza’s name was among the owners.
Records showed Esparza lives about 3 miles from where Slusser was killed.
“Patrol officers drove past the small brick house in the 4200 block of Meredith Avenue, on the Dallas-Cockrell Hill border, and saw a black 2001 Honda Passport parked outside,” the News’ report stated. “Looking through the SUV’s window, they saw what appeared to be a sledgehammer handle.”
Investigators watching Esparza’s house a few days later followed him as he left in the Honda. They stopped him a short time later for failing to signal a lane change, the newspaper reported.
He was taken into custody for having an expired driver’s license and no insurance, authorities said.
One of the officers searching his vehicle found a sledgehammer with duct tape on the handle, the affidavit states. The head of the hammer had apparent bloodstains.
When questioned about Slusser’s killing, Esparza denied having any involvement, the paper reported. He was identified in the footage by people who know him, however.
“Witnesses who (have) a close relationship with the suspect confirmed that he is the person on the still photos that (were) taken from the surveillance video at the offense location,” the affidavit states.
He was also identified “as the same person who was carrying the sledgehammer with the blood on the head of the hammer, and the same person that entered the black Honda Passport right after the offense,” KRLD reported.
In court records, detectives said due to the similarities between the killings of Slusser and Billmeier, they found a “high probability” that both homicides were committed by the same assailant.
The cases were further linked when DNA from both victims was found on the sledgehammer taken from Esparza’s Honda, the News reported. Billmeier’s DNA was also found in the trunk and back seat of the vehicle.
Esparza’s motive for the attacks was unclear.
Court records show that he has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
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