From staff reports
A man accused of killing a man sleeping in front of the Intermodal Center last month in downtown Spokane was arrested Friday.
Samual F. Tesch-Villa, 19, was booked into jail after he was located downtown by officers on bike patrol, according to a police news release.
Police believe he killed Justin Combs, 34, by beating him on June 7 with a rock in an attack that began while Combs was sleeping.
Tesch-Villa was identified by officers who patrol downtown when detectives showed them security footage of the attack .
He was located by police at the House of Charity and arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor warrant and questioned by police. Tesch-Villa told police that he knew Combs but denied attacking him, according to a search warrant requested by police late last month. Police were granted permission to get a sample of Tesch-Villa’s DNA. Tesch-Villa later was released from jail as police gathered enough evidence for probable cause to arrest him on suspicion of first-degree murder.
Combs was attacked just before 6 a.m. , according to security footage. He was discovered bleeding from his head behind a large decorative rock by a woman walking by the Intermodal Center, 221 W. First Ave. She alerted security, who called the police.
Combs was taken to a Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he died 11 days later.
Police found a red sleeping bag soaked with blood, along with blood stains on the sidewalk and decorative rock, according to the warrant. A 51-pound rock nearby also had what appeared to be a blood stain, along with scratches consistent with scraping across the sidewalk.
Police believed the second rock was used to beat Combs, according to the warrant, and sent the rock for DNA testing.
Police obtained video from a nearby business that showed Combs sleeping in the sleeping bag near the decorative rock. At about 5:45 a.m., a man approached Combs and appeared to go through his belongings or move the sleeping bag to see who was inside, according to court documents.
The man then left but soon came back and attacked Combs while he slept, according to court documents.
The man can be seen on the video picking up a large object, likely the rock, and hitting Combs, who was lying on the ground. The suspect ran away after the first strike, but returned moments later to hit Combs three more times before pulling Combs, who was still in his sleeping bag, out of the camera’s view.
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