Everybody loves a good cold-case file, and the Phoenix Police Department is happy to oblige whenever it can.
Yesterday afternoon, Phoenix cops arrested a man in connection with the 2005 murder of 24-year-old Vester Freeman.
Freeman's body was found stabbed to death on May 3, 2005, in front of a business at 601 South 65th Avenue.
There were no witnesses to the crime, and the case soon turned cold.
In fall 2009, detectives turned their attention to Tremaine Lee, arrested in New Mexico on an unrelated crime.
Phoenix police Sergeant Steve Martos tells New Times that while in custody, Lee had to give a DNA sample, which was put into a national DNA database. Lee's DNA turned out to be a match for DNA found at the crime scene, resulting in him getting indicted for Freeman's murder.
Once detectives linked Lee to the murder, it became apparent that he wasn't the only one involved, and police began to take a look at his uncle, 39-year-old Tiger Flowers Jr.
It would seem that Lee rolled over on his uncle, but Martos says that wasn't the case. He says police interviews with family members and witnesses are how police linked Flowers to the murder.
Martos says the victim actually was living with one of the suspects before the murder. Flowers Jr. and Lee grew angry with how Freeman was treating members of their family and people in the neighborhood, which is why, Martos says, they stabbed him.
Martos wouldn't say where the stabbing occurred but says it wasn't in front of the business where the body was found -- he says the body was moved there after the murder.
Flowers was arrested yesterday. His DNA also was found at the crime scene, but, as you may have guessed, he says he didn't do it.
He's currently in a Maricopa County jail and is scheduled to be be charged with first-degree murder.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.