Brother cracks and confesses he and sibling shot man dead before setting remains on fire

 (Phoenix Police)
(Phoenix Police)

A suspect has confessed to shooting a Phoenix man dead before his brother set the remains on fire after the siblings were arrested in connection with the case.

Jose and Roberto Lomeli were charged this weekend after the body of 26-year-old Jose de Jesus Loeza was found inside a burning car in a canal in west Phoenix last month.

The burning car was discovered first by police in the canal near 55th Avenue and Osborn Road on the morning of 1 April before firefighters extinguished the fire and discovered a body inside the vehicle.

The medical examiner determined that the victim did not die from the flames, but instead died from gunshot wounds.

“In this particular circumstance, it was gunfire that was believed to be the cause of the death itself,” Phoenix Police Sgt Brian Bower said.

Sgt Bower added that the discovery of the victim’s remains later led police to the Lomeli brothers, who are now being held in the Maricopa County Jail.

Phoenix Police went on to reveal that the brothers were taken into custody for questioning following their arrest, which led to a confession from Jose that he was the one who shot Loeza.

“That’s when Jose was able to provide details more in depth to detectives of exactly what took place that night,” Sgt Bower said, adding that Jose also confessed that his brother was responsible for “helping” him carry out the killing, as well as “hindering the investigation and “causing the fire and helping with the arson aspect”.

“One of them was responsible for the murder of the victim. His brother was responsible for helping, hindering the investigation, as well as causing the fire and helping with the arson aspect,” said Sgt Bower.

Police believe that Jose Lomeli shot Loeza dead after the pair got into an argument at a home in the area.

The brothers then worked together to put Loeza into his own car’s trunk, set the car on fire, and abandon it in the canal, Sgt Bower said.

Phoenix Police are still testing and processing evidence in the case.

“The entire car itself is considered evidence, so that’s whether there were bullet fragments or bullet holes,” Sgt Bower said.

Jose Lomeli was charged with second-degree murder, as well as arson and abandoning a body. Meanwhile, Roberto Lomeli is also charged with arson and abandoning a body.

Phoenix Police said they would not reveal how the Lomeli brothers knew the victim and what the fight was about in the first place because it is an open and active investigation.

Both brothers are due back in court later this week.