James Knight was charged with two counts of murder

March 01, 2018 03:44 PM

A New Mexico man has been arrested in the death of a prominent former Albuquerque lawyer and his roommate, PEOPLE confirms.

James Knight, 32, also known as Charles Spiess, was charged with two counts of murder Wednesday in the slayings of Eugene Carrell Ray, 70, and 28-year-old Zakaria Fry.

The bodies of Ray, a former assistant attorney general who later opened up a family law practice, and Fry, the transgender woman who rented a room from him, were discovered Feb. 19 in Stanley, a small community about 45 miles east of Albuquerque.

Ray was found off a dead-end road in a painted gray wood trunk covered with pine needles and grass clippings. He was wrapped in large black plastic bags and cloth. His hands had been cut off at the wrist.

A rancher found Fry’s body wrapped up in a black plastic bag in a garbage dumpster three miles away.

Both died from blunt force trauma to the head and face.

Albuquerque Police Department officer Simon Drobik tells PEOPLE that investigators don’t know exactly how Knight knew the pair.

“We don’t know exactly what the connection is,” he says.

Charles Spiess, aka James Knight

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

The working theory is that they were all living together. Drobnik says. “[Knight] may have been renting a room from Eugene,” says Drobik. “[Eugene] was known to have people stay at his house off the street.”

The motive remains unclear, he says.

“There are all these unanswered questions,” he says. “[Knight] refused to talk to our investigators.”

Drobik says investigators allege that after Knight killed the two roommates, he stole Ray’s 2000 silver Ford Mustang and used his credit card to buy McDonald’s fast food, dog food as well as duct tape, rope, garbage bags, gloves, Coleman fuel and cleaning supplies, which were “basically used to clean up the bodies and blood.”

The case came to light on January 26 when Ray’s daughter reported him missing after he didn’t pick up her children. The family also noticed that Ray had stopped using Facebook after January 18, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.

Family members then went to check on him and found newspapers piled outside his house and his Mustang missing.

According to the complaint, family members discovered blood splatter and bloody towels in the guest bathroom and blood on the washing machine in the garage.

Also found in the house were several hypodermic needles and a pile of a white powdery substance on the living room floor.

Ray’s daughter told police that Ray was “involved in a high risk sexual lifestyle in which he befriends unknown persons involved in similar activities,” and that he “routinely allowed persons to stay in his spare bedroom and has been a victim of several property type crimes mostly fraud,” the complaint states.

Police set their sights on Knight after several  tipsters identified him as the man seen on video footage purchasing items using Ray’s credit card at Walmart.

One tipster told police that Knight had worked as a male dancer at one of the strip clubs in the Albuquerque area.

• For more compelling True Crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard

Knight was arrested on February 28 at a local casino in Albuquerque.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

You May Like