Phoenix PD arrests man in shooting death of ex-roommate - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Phoenix PD arrests man in shooting death of ex-roommate

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Jason Neal told police he and the victim, Robert Bickford, had been roommates. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Jason Neal told police he and the victim, Robert Bickford, had been roommates. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his former roommate Wednesday.

Police arrested Jason Neal after he was stopped while driving a pickup truck belonging to Robert Bickford later that day, according to a court document.

Neal was booked into the Mesa County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder, vehicle theft and possession of a dangerous drug.

Neal, listed as a transient, told police he and Bickford had lived together for four to five months and that the two had been intimate, according to the document.

Officers found Bickford's naked body about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the master bedroom of his home near 23rd Avenue and Baseline Road.

Police were notified by another former boyfriend of Bickford's, who was told by Bickford's co-workers he hadn't showed for work the past two days, according to the document.

The ex-boyfriend went to the home and saw Bickford on the floor and called 911. He told investigators that Bickford's red 2006 Dodge pickup truck was missing and that Bickford never allowed anyone to take his truck, according to the document.

While at Bickford's residence, Phoenix police received a call from Avondale police, who said someone called reporting that Neal, a family friend, had arrived at their home and was acting suspiciously, according to the document.

The family said Neal had driven the red Dodge to the house, asked for money so he could go to Mexico, and told them Bickford had signed over the truck before he died three days earlier of natural causes, according to the document.

Several witnesses said they saw a man matching Neal's description leave the victim's house, and a former girlfriend of Neal told police he told her he was "going to put a bullet" in his roommate's head, according to the document.

Police stopped Neal in the truck just before 6 p.m. in the area of 76th Avenue and Thomas Road and as they took him into custody, found methamphetamine on him and a handgun in the truck.

Neal told police he and Bickford often argued, but said Bickford gave him permission to drive his truck. He also admitted to owning several guns, but then requested a lawyer, according to the document.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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