Man died of stab wounds, search war­rant af­fi­davit states

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Sami Edge sedge@sfnewmex­i­

Michael Willms, a 58-year-old Santa Fe man slain in a mid­town apart­ment com­plex in late June, was stabbed in the face, neck and shoul­der, ac­cord­ing to a search war­rant af­fi­davit.

City po­lice and emer­gency med­i­cal staff went to Willms’ home at the com­plex around 1:30 p.m. June 21, af­ter 911 op­er­a­tors re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion that a life-alert sys­tem there had trig­gered an alarm, says the af­fi­davit, filed re­cently in the state District Court in Santa Fe. Fire de­part­ment staff ar­rived first and found Willms dead in the bed­room.

The af­fi­davit pro­vides more de­tails into the vi­o­lent death of a man who, a half­dozen years ago, was a prom­i­nent wed­ding and events plan­ner in Los An­ge­les, co­or­di­nat­ing lav­ish cel­e­bra­tions for high-profile celebri­ties.

The slay­ing prompted the city’s sec­ond homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the year. The May 5 death of a man who had told of­fi­cers a day ear­lier that he’d been beaten by a neigh­bor but re­fused med­i­cal treat­ment also was clas­si­fied as a homi­cide by state med­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tors, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Lt. Michele Wil­liams said po­lice have been in­ter­view­ing peo­ple who might have in­for­ma­tion about Willms’ death, but they have not yet named a pri­mary sus­pect.

She also con­firmed that po­lice seized a dump­ster near the Avaria of Santa Fe apart­ments as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. She de­clined to say why.

Santa Fe po­lice Capt. Robert Vasquez said Willms led a very ac­tive so­cial life in Santa Fe, which has made for a time-con­sum­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death.

Willms’ had been in­volved in other vi­o­lent al­ter­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. Late last year, he told po­lice he had been se­verely beaten and robbed by Mathew Cul­ley, a then18-year-old home­less man with whom he’d had

a re­la­tion­ship, and a cou­ple of friends of the younger man.

Charges against Cul­ley were dropped days af­ter Willms’ slay­ing, and Cul­ley was re­leased from the Santa Fe County jail, where he’d been held since Novem­ber.

Pros­e­cu­tors dis­missed the charges of kid­nap­ping, armed rob­bery, ag­gra­vated bur­glary and other crimes with­out prej­u­dice, court doc­u­ments show, mean­ing they could be re­filed.

“The vic­tim in this case is un­avail­able,” says a doc­u­ment filed by an as­sis­tant district at­tor­ney. “Due to this un­avail­abil­ity the state can­not pro­ceed in good faith.”

Lt. Wil­liams said mem­bers of the pub­lic who have any in­for­ma­tion about Willms’ death should con­tact the po­lice de­part­ment’s In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion at 505-955-5163 or call Santa Fe Crime Stop­pers at 505-955-5050 to leave an anony­mous tip.

Michael Willms

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