A Texas man has been charged with killing two homeless men in Dallas by brutally beating them with a “full-size” sledgehammer, police said.
Adelaido Amaya Esparza, 58, is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of Daniel Slusser and Fredrick Billmeier Jr., who police say were found beaten to death one month apart last fall, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Esparza was charged after investigators searched a database for a black Honda SUV seen driving away from where Slusser’s badly beaten body was found on Nov. 20 in Dallas’ Oak Cliff section and were led to his Cockrell Hill home.
Slusser, 60, had serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Surveillance footage showed someone walk up to Slusser as he slept beneath a blanket and strike him “several times with a full-size sledgehammer,” police said in an affidavit.
The attacker then put the bloody weapon with duct tape around its handle into an older black Honda SUV and drove off, police said.
Dallas police found the black 2001 Honda Passport parked outside Esparza’s home and spotted what appeared to be a sledgehammer handle, the affidavit states.
Esparza was later spotted leaving his house in the SUV and was stopped for an improper lane change, leading cops to take him into custody because his license was expired and he didn’t have insurance, police said.
Cops then found a sledgehammer with duct tape on its handle and apparent blood on its head inside the SUV. Esparza said he was the only person who drove the vehicle, but denied involvement in Slusser’s death, according to the affidavit.
Esparza was arrested after someone close to him identified him as Slusser’s attacker when shown images of the suspect, police said.
One month prior to Slusser’s slaying, Billmeier, 50, was found bludgeoned to death at a bus stop in West Dallas, where he was hit several times with an object, including blows to his head, the newspaper reported.
But the attacker was “impossible to identify” because the camera was too far away, police said.
Due to the similarities of the attacks, investigators said there was a “high possibility” that the same person was responsible for both slayings. DNA belonging to both men was also found on the sledgehammer, police said.
Esparza was indicted in both slayings last month. He remained in custody Monday in Dallas County on $1 million bond.
A judge has ordered he undergo a mental competency exam.
His attorney had no comment on the accusations, the newspaper reported.