Prosecutors in Miami announced on Friday that they have filed charges against a man they allege was a serial killer targeting homeless men and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle called the investigation worthy of a “modern-day Sherlock Holmes.”
During a press conference on Friday, Fernandez Rundle said two charges of murder and one of attempted murder have been filed against Willy Suarez Maceo, 25, who is accused of murdering two homeless individuals and attempting to kill a third in two separate incidents last year.
“These types of homicides are best known as serial killings,” she said, “It’s a series of chances like detached killings that can defy a community’s perception of danger and safety,” said Fernandez Rundle.
The charges against Maceo stem from incidents in October 2021 where a 59-year-old man was allegedly killed and December 2021 where a 56-year-old man was allegedly killed. Maceo has also been charged with attempted murder in connection with the alleged shooting of a third man in the December incident. Maceo was initially arrested in December and has been in custody since.
Fernandez Rundle praised the work of the investigative team in the case. “This was the result of good police investigative work,” Fernandez Rundle said. “Possibly worthy of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. The homicide detectives put together what turns out to be a mosaic of information that led to the charges that my office filed today. “
Maceo’s December arrest came after a Miami-Dade Police officer was alerted by a witness that a homeless man appeared to be suffering from a head injury.
“The investigation quickly revealed that the victim was suffering from a gunshot wound to the head,” Miami Interim Police Chief Manual Morales said in December.
A few hours later, a second homeless man, identified as 56-year-old Jerome Antonio Price, was found dead on the side of the street. After using surveillance footage of Maceo’s vehicle near the scene of the crime, he was arrested and taken into custody.
After he was taken into custody for the two incidents in December, investigators noticed that Maceo looked similar to the suspect that was seen on surveillance video following the October murder of another homeless man, identified as 59-year-old Manuel Perez.
“These types of anonymous seemingly haphazard killings can create a real sense of fear and unease, particularly among those who may identify as part of a targeted population,” Fernandez Rundle said during the press conference on Friday.
“In this case, the targeted population were Miami Dade’s homeless, men who sleep outdoors in our community. These are some of our most vulnerable individuals in our community,” she added.
Miami-Dade Mayor Francis Suarez also spoke on Friday and applauded the city’s police department for their extensive work in this investigation.
“As the state attorney said, first of all, we’re gonna protect everyone in our city. We’re very blessed that we have a city of hardworking, dedicated police officers,” Suarez said. “
Suarez also touted the city’s decrease in crime, saying that “last year we had a 23 percent reduction in homicides,” and a “14 percent reduction in contact shootings.
“That’s because we invested in our men and women in law enforcement,” Suarez said.