AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man arrested in Wisconsin last April has been charged with capital murder in the robbery and shooting death of Austin resident Jose Humberto Vela, who police believe met his attacker through a Craigslist ad.
Vela, 51, was found shot to death in his home at 5305 Summer Drive on April 13, 2013. Three days later, Michael Jay Evers, 23, was arrested in Wisconsin, on an unrelated probation violation charge
Austin police now believe that Vela and Evers became acquainted over email through Craigslist and met in person at least twice, according to an Austin police arrest affidavit.
On their final meeting at Vela’s house, where Vela lived alone, police believe Evers shot Vela, stole a wedding ring and a gold crucifix necklace and sold them at a nearby pawn shop, the affidavit says.
It was the next day that Vela’s body was found lying on his bed, his pockets turned inside out, according to the affidavit. A search of Vela’s computer showed correspondence with several people he met through creating and answering ads on Craigslist, according to the affidavit.
Police did not specify in the affidavit the nature of those relationships, including his acquaintance with Evers, who at one point sent Vela a self-portrait that authorities would later match up with surveillance video at the pawn shop three miles from Vela’s home and the driver’s license Evers gave to the pawn shop when he sold the jewelry, police said.
The jewelry was located there after police searched their pawn shop databases when the jewelry was reported missing by Vela’s brother. The pawn shop owners turned over the jewelry, which had not even been cleaned yet when police got there during their initial investigation, the affidavit said.
Tests on both the jewelry and DNA found on Vela’s inside-out pockets matched each other, and then in June, they showed a matched to Evers’, whose DNA was in Wisconsin’s Convicted Offender Profile due to an earlier conviction.
Evers, who was on probation, by this time had been in jail for two months on the probation violation.
Because police believe he robbed Vela in the course of a murder, Evers is now charged with capital murder and remained in a Wisconsin jail in lieu of $500,000 bond. He is awaiting extradition back to Travis County.