BPD: Man started fire inside home that's site of unsolved murder

BPD: Man started fire inside home that's site of unsolved murder

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A 42-year-old Boise man has been charged with arson stemming from a fire that took place at the same site of an unsolved murder, police and prosecutors say.

The Boise Police Department says Steven Eugene Roberts III was arrested after he started a fire Sept. 1 of last year at 5824 Randolph Drive in Boise. It's the same house where Phyllis Ward was murdered in her house July 23 some six weeks before.

At first it was thought, she perished in her bedroom when a fire started at her house. But an autopsy revealed she was killed b y multiple blows to her head before the fire started.

Detectives, however, say there's no evidence to connect theSeptember 2012 arson to the murder case and first fire.

"It doesn't appear there is a connection," Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Fafa Alidjani told KBOI 2News. "If there is we don't know about it yet."

Prosecutors say Roberts fled the state after the arson but had cut his hand on a window during theBoise Bench break-in, leaving his blood at the scene.
 

They say he was tracked down in Louisiana through DNA as well as credit card charges and arrested back in November 2012.

Roberts, who was previously convicted on aggravated assault abd burglary charges and paroled from prison in Idaho in January 2012,  was transferred from Louisiana to the Ada County Jail on Wednesday where he was booked on felony arson and burglary. He's being held on a $1 million bond with a preliminary hearing set for Sept. 11.

No arrests have been made in the murder of Phyllis Ward, but the police department says it's continuing to investigate.

"Boise Police continues to pursue leads and evidence, working closely with prosecutors. Justice for Phyllis Ward and the Ward family is a high priority," police spokesman Charles McClure told KBOI News back in July.