Silent Witness tip leads to charges in Mesa murder

Posted at 3:07 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 17:07:44-05

A Silent Witness tip led to the arrest of a man believed to be involved in the October murder of a store clerk in Mesa.

On November 13, Mesa police sent out a tweet asking for the public's help in identifying a man believed to be connected to an October murder at Mi Pueblo Mercado near Southern Avenue and Center Street.

The killing took place on October 29, when the suspect allegedly struck the manager, Thomas Lee, in the head with a hammer. Lee attempted to flee but was pursued by the suspect, who continued to attack him until he died, according to police.

Police say surveillance video showed the suspect then taking money from the cash drawer and hitting Thomas again with the hammer before leaving.

A handprint left on the store counter reportedly showed that the suspect was missing one finger and part of another.

After police requested the public's help, a tip was submitted to Silent Witness with information about a possible suspect. The tip mentioned that the possible suspect was missing fingers, which was information that was not initially shared with the public.

Detectives used the tip to locate Kelvin Peder Aakjar at a motel in Mesa. Police say the 59-year-old was brought into custody without incident. 

Aakjar was interviewed by officials, but he did not admit any involvement in the case.

Court paperwork shows that Aakjar was previously convicted of homicide in 1979 and attempted murder in 1994.

Aakjar is being held on a $3,000,000 bond for first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.