MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Friends and neighbors of a Moss Point man being charged in a 13 year old Arizona murder said they are shocked.
Michael Moye, 35, was arrested at a Jackson County Shipyard Tuesday. Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said DNA was able to link Moye to the beating a store clerk and murder of a customer on June 16, 2001.
Wanda Berryhill said she knows Moye's family and watched him grow up. "All I know is he always took care of his mother and his family. This has really taken us by surprise."
Berryhill described Moye as "always a pleasant well mannered respectable young man.
Co-worker Howie Ladnier said, "He was always the joker, hard worker and seemed relatively smart."
Moye grew up on Rockcreek Road in Moss Point. Neighbors there did not want to be identified but one said, "he has a great family." Another told WLOX News Moye is married and has five children.
One neighbor said she remembers Moye going through a bad phase.
"He was raised up with my kids and was always seemed like a pretty good kid, you know some kids just get off on a pretty bad thing. I know he got into some trouble but I know he had tried to straighten his life up and started going to church so I just figured he was on the up and up trying to straighten himself up."
According to an old WLOX News story, Moye was arrested in 2002 for the murder of a Moss Point teen. Jackson County Sheriff's Department also confirmed Moye was arrested in 2009 for armed robbery, burglary and felony evasion.
Phoenix Sgt. Thompson said Moye was named a suspect in the 2001 shooting shortly after it happened, but it was new DNA technology that gave his department enough evidence to get a warrant for Moye's arrest this week.
Thomson, however, would not say if Moye, or one of the other two suspects who have yet to be identified, was the actual gunmen.
"In Arizona, if you are involved in a crime, such as a robbery or whatever, and one of your partners in the crime killed somebody, everybody is responsible for that homicide and can be charged with murder in that case," Thompson said.
Phoenix detectives are still trying to notify the victim's family an arrest has been made in the cold case, but Thompson said Jaime Olivera-Perez's family lives in another country.
"If you can just imagine the anguish that family has gone through," Thompson said. "Their loved one, who was just a customer in a store, didn't come home that day and never has for 13 years. So, while it is rewarding for us to be able to solve the case, we hope it is equally rewarding or satisfying for the family, because hopefully they are getting some closure to the loss of their loved one."
Moye is being held at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center for Phoenix Police. Officials said he will most likely be charged with armed robbery and first degree murder.
If you have any information about the murder, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.