Playstation 3 connects suspect to body found in charred condo
It was a stolen video game system that helped link a suspect to a 48-year-old Las Vegas man found in a burning condo. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It was a stolen video game system that helped link a suspect to a 48-year-old Las Vegas man found in a burning condo.
Fire crews responded to the fire on Del Mar Street back on Feb. 25.
While it was originally investigated as a fatal fire, police now believe the blaze may have been an attempt to cover up a crime.
A coroner's report discovered James Lacella had been shot in the head and his body had been decomposing in his home for days.
Several items from his home were missing, including a Playstation 3 and a collection of video games.
According to documents, the serial number of the game console matched up with the one suspect Patrick Wilcock sold at a pawn shop.
Lacella's mother is heartbroken over the senselessness of the murder and robbery.
"It doesn't make sense to me that somebody would murder somebody for a little bit of money. He didn't have a lot of money," said Betts Lacella.
A couple of years after losing her husband, Betts Lacella is now coping with the unexpected death of her son.
"I want him to be remembered as very good to his friends. He took people in that he shouldn't have, but that's the way he was," she explained.
The remnants of the flames that torched the condo near University of Nevada, Las Vegas are now a constant, unsettling reminder for neighbors.
The apparent attempt to burn evidence also put their lives at risk
"I don't even want to see the place of talk about it because it's scary," said neighbor Ernestine Braunroth, who has lived at the complex for 26 years.
Police also linked Lacella's stolen debit card and car keys to 42-year-old Patrick Wilcock.
"I think he's nuts. He has no heart," added Braunroth.
Wilcock was arrested at his family's home but did not confess to the crime. When confronted about a gun he had, documents say he claimed his grandmother gave it to him.
He reportedly said that his girlfriend's dog had been hit by a car and he needed the gun to put to pooch out of its misery.
Police suspect that .25 caliber handgun was the same gun used in the murder.
On Monday, Wilcock's mother defended her son at the house on Bunch Street in Las Vegas.
"Why is it that you don't think he did anything," asked Action News reporter Drew Karedes.
"Because he's my son," she said. "They were best friends."
Wilcock is now behind bars at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of murder and robbery.
Authorities still haven't released a cause in the Feb. 25 fire.