WASHINGTON - There has been an arrest made in the January murder of a 66-year old D.C. man who told police drug dealers had taken over his apartment. Awlachew Ayele was found dead after a fire tore through his unit on Queen Street in Northeast D.C. - one day after he filed a complaint with the police.
Nearly 11 months later, police have arrested 40-year-old Garrett Taylor with first-degree murder.
According to a court affidavit, Ayele told police that Taylor, known as "G," had taken over his apartment with several other males and forced him to allow them to stash illegal narcotics and firearms in his home.
Ayele told police the men moved into his apartment in November where they assaulted and threatened him - saying he would pay the price if he contacted the police.
The court affidavit says the night before the fire and after his meeting with police, Taylor attacked Ayele - breaking several ribs and causing trauma to the back of his head.
But when a friend called 911, Ayele refused to go to the hospital, but told police who assaulted him.
After Ayele's body was found, police questioned Taylor and said his clothes smelled like smoke. They also found an ominous message written on Ayele's apartment wall stating, "You going down Ayele."
Police say Ayele was offered protection the night he made the complaint, but decided that he did not want it.
"I can really only speak to the homicide aspect of this, but from my knowledge of the case, I can say that I understand that he was offered services and he just declined," said D.C. Police Capt. Anthony Haythe. "In homicide cases and other cases, we do offer relocation services."
A few months ago, we caught up with Taylor as he left the courthouse and asked him about Ayele. He told us then, "There ain't no charges against me. I don't know nothing about that."
Taylor appeared in court on Saturday and has a preliminary hearing in January.