Keith Allen White was arrested Monday and charged in the death of roommate Brian Cook, police in Sierra Vista, Arizona, tell PEOPLE

By Harriet Sokmensuer
October 26, 2016 05:25 PM
Keith Allen White - News
Credit: Sierra Vista Police Department

An Arizona man is accused of killing his roommate and then hosting a barbecue while the victim’s body sat in a closet, according to police.

Keith Allen White, 50, was arrested Monday and charged in the death of roommate Brian Cook, police in Sierra Vista, Arizona, tell PEOPLE. White was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Authorities say White allegedly confessed to strangling Cook after a fight early Saturday and hiding his body in a bedroom closet before hosting a barbecue for some friends, one of whom was a family member of the victim, according to local media.

“The relative came over for the barbecue, not knowing where [Cook] was,” Sgt. Sean Brownson told the Sierra Vista Herald. “The whole time, he was dead in the closet with the door closed.”

Brownson said police responded to a call from the relative Monday night alleging White had confessed to the killing, the Herald reports. The relative told police that after the barbecue, White allegedly asked the relative if he could be trusted and told him how he strangled Cook.

Brawnson, who interviewed White, told the Herald that during questioning White allegedly confessed to killing Cook and hiding his body in the closet — repeatedly calling the killing a “faux pas.”

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‘The Guy Wouldn’t Quit Running His Mouth’

White allegedly told police that on Saturday night, he and his roommate were drunk and arguing, according to local reports.

After several hours, White allegedly got upset and strangled Cook, who was sitting on the couch.

“He said the victim didn’t offer any resistance. They were both very intoxicated because they had been drinking a lot of vodka. He said the guy wouldn’t quit running his mouth,” Brownson told the Herald.

White allegedly told police he tried to revive Cook but it was too late, Brownson said.

When they arrived at White’s apartment days later, police noticed he had allegedly set up a fan to blow the smell of the decomposing body out of a window, the Herald reports. Police said the apartment was allegedly littered with empty liquor bottles and evidence of methamphetamine use.

Police also allege they found a trail of blood running from the bedroom, where Cook’s body was originally kept, to a suitcase by the door, according to Brownson — leading police to believe White had been allegedly preparing to dispose of Cook’s body.

According to the Herald, White allegedly told the relative he was planning on burying the body in the desert.

White also allegedly mentioned to police that he believed Cook was stealing things from him, such as batteries and flashlights, the Herald reports.

White remains in Cochise County Jail in Arizona, officials tell PEOPLE. He made his first court appearance on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether he has an attorney or has entered a plea.