GREELEY, Colo. — A man who was found dead following a fire at his Greeley home in October had been stabbed in the neck with a metal file and was dead before the fire, according to an arrest affidavit for the suspects from the Greeley Police Department (GPD).
Around 5:45 a.m. on Oct 3, GPD officers and members of the fire department were dispatched to a house fire on 15th Avenue Court. A man's body was found on the floor just inside the door of the home, but due to its condition, it took time to identify the victim as 35-year-old Christopher Dickerson, who was the homeowner.
His neighbor reported that he heard Dickerson's dog barking around 3:30 a.m. and went next door to try to wake him up, but got no response and returned home. That neighbor again heard the dog barking around 5:40 a.m. and looked at Dickerson's house and saw an "amber" glow, the affidavit says. Realizing the home was on fire, that neighbor called 911.
>The video above aired when the fire was first reported in early October.
Investigators determined the origin of the fire was the living room and ruled out an accidental cause, the affidavit says. They also searched the victim's home and noticed that it appeared Dickerson's bedroom closet had been "cleared out" and there were bags on the bed in the room that had been rummaged through, the affidavit says. An empty jewelry box was also found.
Police said Dickerson had an engagement ring that an ex-fiance had returned when they broke up. That ring was not found in the home, according to the affidavit.
Dickerson's wallet was found in his car, the affidavit says, but no debit or credit cards were inside.
Stacy Rodriguez, 19, and Hosanna Valera, 23, were both arrested in late October in connection with Dickerson's death. When asked if they knew Dickerson or had ever been to his home, both women said no, the affidavit says. However, surveillance video from various locations, including cameras near his home, appear to dispute their claims, according to the affidavit.
Security videos from near the victim's home and 11 businesses around Greeley helped investigators piece together a timeline of events on the morning that Dickerson died, according to the affidavit.
Between 12:46 a.m. and about 1:30 a.m., Dickerson and the suspects were both inside Cubeta's Bar, but their activities or interactions inside the bar are unknown, the affidavit says.
Dickerson left the bar alone and walked to a nearby cafe, the affidavit says. The two suspects left the bar around the same time and drove by Dickerson in a Chevy Malibu. As they did, he appeared to nod his head at their vehicle, the affidavit says.
Around 2:16 a.m., Dickerson pulled into the driveway at his home, and a Malibu pulled in behind him, the affidavit says. It's believed Dickerson and the two women all entered his home through the garage, according to the affidavit.
Just after 4 a.m., a person believed to be Dickerson exited the home, the affidavit says. In all, three "figures" were seen near the open front door, according to the affidavit. At 4:16 a.m. all three walked inside, and a "heavy-set female" is seen standing in the house, the affidavit says. Dickerson appeared to "stumble" as he walked through the doorway, according to the affidavit.
About an hour later at 5:08 a.m. two "heavy-set" women exited the home and got into the Malibu, the affidavit says. They drove away, then returned at 5:24 a.m. and parked on the street near the home, according to the affidavit. The rear lights of the car stayed on, and one person was seen entering Dickerson's home and shutting the door, the affidavit says. Three minutes later, at 5:27 a.m. a bright glow is seen through the living room window, according to the affidavit.
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The front door opened and flames are seen inside the home, the affidavit says. The figure entered the passenger side of the Malibu and the vehicle drove away, according to the affidavit.
Both women denied ever owning or knowing anyone who owned a Chevy Malibu. However, investigators were able to determine the vehicle seen in the security videos was registered to Rodriguez's brother, the affidavit says.
Dickerson's death was ruled a homicide, but his exact cause of death is pending further investigation, according to the Weld County coroner's office. The affidavit says he was stabbed several times in the neck and was dead before the fire started, based on burn patterns inside the home and a lack of smoke in his lungs.
Rodriguez and Valera face the following charges:
- First-degree murder
- First-degree arson
- Tampering with a deceased corpse
- Second-degree burglary
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