A Phoenix teenager has been arrested in the 2011 death of an 84-year-old man, in which the teenager allegedly beat the elderly man for taking aluminum cans from his backyard.
Charles Williams, 19, allegedly punched Da Nguyen several times in the face during this, and although Nguyen died several weeks later, the autopsy results show his death was a result of the blunt-force injuries to his face, according to court documents obtained by New Times.
Nguyen was collecting cans in a neighborhood near 19th Avenue and Baseline Road on September 12, 2011, when he went through a gate to Williams' backyard and started filling a bag with cans Williams' family had left out there.
Williams' younger brother saw Nguyen and went out there to confront him, and discovered that Nguyen only speaks Vietnamese, and doesn't understand English.
Williams' little brother eventually got Nguyen to leave their backyard, but as Nguyen was outside of the yard and walking away, Williams came up and clocked him in the face, according to court documents.
A neighbor came outside when she saw Nguyen go to the ground, and phoned up the cops.
According to the court documents, Nguyen had multiple face fractures, which a hospital physician told investigators must have been caused by more than one strike to the face.
Nguyen's jaw was wired shut, and he was eventually transferred to a care facility, where he died on September 28, 2011.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Williams -- who is unemployed and "does not stay in one place" -- was arrested on Tuesday, and booked into jail on a second-degree murder charge. His bond was set at $350,000.
Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson tells New Times the delay in Williams' arrest is due to a few factors, including Nguyen's belated death and the autopsy.
"That process alone took many months," Thompson says in an e-mail. "While the County Attorney's Office was reviewing the case, the detectives believed probable cause existed to arrest the suspect and he was booked into jail."