A Las Vegas man killed his roommate after he was asked to move out and then fled to California where he confessed to the slaying days later, police said Thursday.
Martin Skropeta , 54, called Los Angeles police at 12:11 a.m. Wednesday and said he had killed roommate Kelli Keesee in Las Vegas.
Skropeta stayed on the line with police for an hour and 45 minutes, telling them he had enough heroin to overdose and that he was standing on top of a cliff with a gun. LAPD found Skropeta at 1:55 a.m. in Agoura, Calif., and took him into custody.
After LAPD called Metro about Skropeta’s confession, Las Vegas police went to the woman’s home at 520 Elm Drive, near Paradise Road at Twain Avenue, where they found her body.
Metro detectives went to Los Angeles, interviewed Skropeta and later arrested him.
Keesee’s father and sister, who hadn’t talked to her since Sunday, called police several times Tuesday to request they check her apartment, according to a Las Vegas police report. The father reported her missing the same day.
Las Vegas police also spoke with a neighbor who said they hadn’t seen Keesee for several days and had noticed her car wasn’t parked in the apartment complex.
Police say Skropeta took Keesee’s car, a silver Hyundai Sonata, because his car was being repaired. He drove to Los Angeles and stopped at fraternity row at the University of Southern California, where he took a license plate off of another car and put it on Keesee’s. He told Las Vegas police he switched the plates in case they discovered Keesee’s body and started looking for her car.
Police said Keesee had told her sister that she was going to ask Skropeta to move out and that she was nervous about how he would react.
In his interview with Las Vegas police, Skropeta told police that Keesee had gotten mad at him because he didn’t pay his rent and asked him to move out Sunday afternoon. Skropeta said Keesee had been drinking and was also on medication.
Skropeta told police he started packing his things and picked up his chef’s knives to put them near his bag. According to Skropeta, Keesee picked up the knives and started throwing them at him. After Skropeta picked up the knives, Keesee picked up a pink, child’s baseball bat and hit him with it three or four times.
Skropeta tried to grab the bat and the two wrestled with it until they fell to the floor together, according to the police report. Skropeta landed on top of Keesee with the bat across her neck. Skropeta told police he heard a “crunching” before he saw blood and checked Keesee for a pulse and breathing.
He found neither, Skropeta told police, and her eyes “looked dead.” He stared at her for 30 minutes before he put a bag over her head and dragged her body to the bathroom and placed it in a tub, he said in his interview.
Las Vegas police found the body there three days later.
Skropeta faces one charge of murder. He is awaiting extradition back to Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Kimber Laux at email@example.com or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @lauxkimber. Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638.d Find him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead.