Man died of stab wounds, search warrant affidavit states
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.