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Tooele man charged with murder in beating death of roommate

A Tooele man was charged Friday with murder after his 60-year-old roommate was found dead Thursday with extensive facial injuries.

A Tooele man was charged Friday with murder after his 60-year-old roommate was found dead Thursday with extensive facial injuries. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

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TOOELE — A Tooele arrested in connection with the apparent beating death of his roommate was charged Friday with murder.

Richard Perales, 55, is charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony; and domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony.

The investigation began about 2:25 a.m. Thursday when police were called to a basement apartment near Date Street (130 North) and Third Street in Tooele. A 60-year-old man was found with extensive injuries to his face, according to police. The man was not conscious or breathing but still had a faint pulse when officers arrived. Despite life-saving efforts, the man died at the scene, said Tooele Police Cpl. Colbey Bentley.

The victim's girlfriend, who also lives in the apartment, was the one who called 911 after she got home from work and discovered her boyfriend on the floor of the main living room. She told emergency dispatchers that it "looked like he 'got the (expletive) beat out of him,'" according to a police booking affidavit.

Investigators believe it may have been at least an hour and up to three hours from the time the assault occurred to when the victim was found.

After officers arrived, they searched the rest of the apartment and found Perales asleep on his bed, Bentley said. Detectives attempted to question him, but Perales at first denied being in any physical altercation and then requested an attorney. Investigators ended their questioning at that point, until Perales later said he didn't need an attorney and was ready to talk, the affidavit states.

"Mr. Perales said he did remember coming home from the bar, and the victim was talking negativily about his mother, and calling him derogatory names. Mr. Perales said he backhanded the victim, but didn't remember anything after that," according to the affidavit.

Police noted that he "had red stains that appeared to be blood" on his sweatpants. His shoes, which also appeared to have blood on them, were also seized as evidence by detectives, according to the affidavit.

During their investigation, detectives learned there was a boy in the upstairs apartment who claimed he "could hear the victim being assaulted by Mr. Perales and identified his voice and the one involved in the assault," the affidavit alleges.

Tooele police are now trying to determine what led up to the fatal altercation and retrace Perales' steps from Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The name of the victim had not been released as of Friday afternoon.

Police noted in the affidavit that Perales has also had a warrant out for his arrest in California since 2014 that he has avoided.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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