U.S. Marshals Arrest California Man in Connection to 2001 Phoenix Stabbing Death. Too Much Meth in Victim's System Derailed Original Investigation

The U.S. Marshals have arrested a man wanted in connection to a 2001 stabbing murder of a 40-year-old Phoenix resident.

The Phoenix Police Department announced today the arrest of Marc Salinas, 38, for allegedly stabbing Rishard LaPointe to death in his Phoenix apartment near the intersection of East Bell Road and North 7th Street on June 30, 2001.

Salinas was captured by the U.S. Marshals Service early Monday in Delhi, California, and is still awaiting extradition back to Arizona as of Wednesday, according to a court spokesperson.

Phoenix Police spokesman Sergeant Tommy Thompson says the murder case was reopened by cold case detectives within the department in the fall, leading to an arrest warrant for Salinas.

Thompson tells New Times Salinas was originally identified as a possible suspect in the case, but complications through the medical examiner's office threw the case astray.

Apparently, Salinas, who was known to do drugs with LaPointe, had so much meth in his system after he died that the medical examiner changed the determination of his death from homicide to undetermined, even though Thompson described LaPointe as being stabbed "many, many times."

Police also found Salinas to be a little suspicious after he skipped town the day after the stabbing, and never returned.

"The day after the homicide, the guy ghosts," Thompson says. "He goes to California, and to my understanding, has been there ever since."

When speculating as to why the case went unsolved for nearly 10 years, Thompson says he didn't want to "throw the [Medical Examiner] under the bus" for changing the determination of LaPointe's death, as various other factors left the trail of the case cold.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley