Denver police have arrested someone in the stabbing death of a 77-year-old man

The stabbing death of Lewis Easterday near Cheesman Park last month left his family searching for answers.

Pete Paul Martinez is charged in the death of Lewis Easterday. (Courtesy Denver DA's Office.)

The stabbing death of Lewis Easterday near Cheesman Park last month left his family searching for answers.

Easterday was found stabbed in his car near 13th Avenue and Marion Street on Nov. 22. He died shortly thereafter.

Denver police have now arrested a man on suspicion of killing the 77-year-old Federal Heights man, but the District Attorney’s Office said there is no known motive in the killing.

In a press release, the DA’s office said that Denver police identified the suspect through DNA evidence.

Pete Paul Martinez, 41, is charged with one count of first degree murder after deliberation. He was arrested on Dec. 3. Martinez is being held in the Denver Detention Center without bond.

The arrest affidavit describes what looks like a startlingly random crime.

Detectives obtained security footage from the nearby business Alternative Medicine on Capitol Hill. According to the arrest affidavit, a Ford Fusion can be seen turning off 13th and parking on the 1200 block of Marion Street. A man gets out the car, returns soon after, and then Easterday’s 1991 Lincoln Mark VII pulls up alongside the Ford Fusion. The unidentified man opens the hood of the Lincoln Mark VII and gets out jumper cables from his car. Several minutes later, the Lincoln Mark VII pulls forward slightly. The unidentified man tries to close the hood of the Lincoln Mark VII, then goes to the trunk of his car and gets an object.

On the security footage, according to the affidavit, the unidentified man can be seen breaking the driver-side window of the Lincoln and reaching repeatedly through the window with the object. He then gets back in the Fusion and drives away.

Denver paramedics arrived about five minutes after the unidentified man left. They found Easterday unresponsive with multiple stab wounds.

According to the affidavit, detectives swabbed the car hood for DNA where the man had tried to close it and came back with a match for Easterday.

Colorado court records show that Martinez was charged with burglary in 2013, with the charges dismissed after successful completion of a deferred judgment. He was also arrested a few days before Easterday’s murder by Lakewood police on suspicion of driving under the influence. Colorado court records show a number of traffic violations for Martinez, but they do not show that he was ever previously accused or convicted of any violent crimes.

Pete Paul Martinez is charged in the death of Lewis Easterday. (Courtesy Denver DA's Office.)
Pete Paul Martinez is charged in the death of Lewis Easterday. (Courtesy Denver DA’s Office.)

 

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.