Dallas police arrested two men this week in connection with the October death of a gay man who lived in the Love Field are.
Lt. Mike Scoggins, commander of the Dallas homicide unit, said investigators do not believe
Robert Ray Martinez, 31, and David Jeremy Valdez, 24, are accused of killing Craig Ceson, 46. Martinez and Valdez both remained jailed on $1 million bonds for the murder charges, according to Scoggins.
Ceson’s death was linked to the murders of at least six other gay men killed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the last five years.
Ceson was found dead in his apartment on Forest Park Road on Oct. 11. Scoggins said Ceson had been beaten to death with a blunt object, and several items, including a television and a stereo, were missing from the home.
Ceson’s car was also taken and was found later in Fort Worth.
Scoggins said neighbors had given investigators the first name of a man who had been involved in a relationship with Ceson.
“We found some evidence inside the apartment, and when we ran that information through the records, the same name popped up in connection with a previous arrest for burglary of a habitation in that same area,” Scoggins said.
Police identified the suspect as Ray Martinez.
When Ceson’s car was found in Fort Worth, investigators found more evidence inside linking Martinez to the crime.
Martinez was arrested Dec. 16 and charged with theft, evading arrest, burglary of a habitation, possession of a controlled substance and capital murder.
Martinez’s total bond on all the charges is more than $2 million.
Scoggins said that information police obtained while questioning Martinez led them to the second suspect, Valdez. Valdez was arrested Wednesday in Albuquerque, N.M. after authorities learned he was under the supervision of probation authorities there.
He was taken into custody by members of a U.S. Marshal’s Service task force when he reported to his probation office, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest in connection with Ceson’s murder.
Dallas detectives traveled to Albuquerque to question Valdez and seek his extradition.
Scoggins said Valdez has denied any knowledge of Ceson’s murder.
Scoggins said he and other officers from the Dallas Police Department met Wednesday with officers from Garland and Grand Prairie to discuss a string of murders of at least six other gay men in North Texas over the past five years.
Scoggins said Arlington officers investigating the murder of gay University of Texas at Arlington student Samuel Lea were unable to attend.
Lea’s body was found in his Arlington apartment on Oct. 31. Police said he had been strangled to death.
Scoggins said investigators from the different departments met to share information and try to find any links between the unsolved murders of gay men.
But, he said, “We haven’t been able to come up with anything that ties these murders together. There are some things from the different cases that look similar, but the MOs are different.”
Scoggins said that in two or three of the cases, the victims’ vehicles were stolen.
“But that doesn’t mean anything, really. It is pretty common for a suspect to take the victim’s car because the keys are right there and it is his quickest means of escape,” he said.
Scoggins said investigators did agree to resubmit DNA evidence from the murders for further investigation..
“But right now, we don’t think the murders are connected,” he said.
Scoggins said the only real link investigators have found is that many of the murders appear to have been committed by someone the victims invited into their homes.
“We had a profiler with us in the meeting, and he said these all seem to be crimes of opportunity.”
This is more about a lifestyle kind of situation,” he said, noting that some of the victims are believed to have picked up their killers in bars.
“If someone wants to take precautions against this happening to them, then some people need to change their dating lifestyles and not take strangers home with them,” Scoggins said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of December 23, 2005.