A man in Texas was “shocked” after authorities said they served him with an arrest warrant in connection with a 2009 homicide case.
Tommy Joe Manuel, Jr., 49, was locked up on drug charges in the Dawson County Detention Center when Lamesa Police Chief Josh Peterson served him with a murder warrant on Oct. 19 for the slaying of 65-year-old Willie Butler.
“He was shocked, but just general denial over the whole thing,” Peterson said, KCBD reported.
In 2009, Butler’s sister, Dorothy, told the station she grew concerned after not hearing from Butler in two days. When she and her grandsons went to his home in Lamesa, they found the door locked so the grandsons broke a window and entered the residence.
“They just came out screaming and then fell into the yard,” Dorothy said. “I knew then, that something was wrong.”
Police said Butler, who was found face-down on the floor, was beaten to death.
At the time, police were unable to determine a motive for the murder, but investigators recently got a break when they took another look at the cold case.
Chief Peterson said a lieutenant reviewing the notes of a former captain noted a name in a report and that “led to further information, which, luckily enough, broke the case wide open after all of these years.”
Peterson declined to go into further detail about the ongoing homicide investigation but said family was surprised about the arrest after 13 years had passed.
“I believe they had, the best way I can describe it, maybe they had lost hope after all of this time, but they were very grateful that we were able to bring them closure that they had wanted for so long,” Peterson said.