CHICAGO, IL -- Illinois police say a recent death that was at first ruled accidental death in was really something much more: a "diabolical plan" that is "stranger than fiction."
At a news conference Thursday, officers said they believe the death of 20-year-old Justin M. Newman was actually a premeditated murder.
They said the killer, 39-year-old Ari Squire, used Newman's body to fake his own death.
Newman's body was found crushed under a pickup truck in Squire's Lake Barrington garage on February 23rd.
It was pinned under a pickup truck and badly burned.
Authorities said at a news conference that they first believed the body was Squire's.
The body had Squire's shoes, socks, clothes and wallet.
Two days later, Newman was reported missing.
Police later learned that Newman had gone to Squire's house to talk about a possible construction job.
"Ari held this carrot out there for Justin that, 'I'm going to give you a job," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. "And unknown to Justin, Ari has this diabolical plan for the demise of Justin."
Police said Squire killed Newman, dressed Newman in his own clothes, and then staged the garage to make it appeared that Squire himself had died.
"Ari had a plan to take Justin Newman's identification, and become 'Justin Newman," Curran said.
Police caught up with Squire on March 2 at a motel in Missouri.
When authorities knocked on his room door they heard a single gunshot.
When they entered the room, officers found Squire had apparently committed suicide.
"The true identity of the suicide victim in that motel room was in fact Ari Squire," Curran said.
Newman's neighbors said they were surprised to learn it was Newman who died in the garage.
The neighbors said Newman did not seem like the kind of person who would stage his own death.
"It makes me want to cry," said one neighbor.
Newman's family said they were devastated by the news.
"Justin was a very trustworthy person," said Frank Testa, Newman's older brother. "He never saw this coming, the family never saw this coming, it's very unbelievable right now."
Officers said Squire and his wife, Denise, took out a $5 million life insurance policy a couple of years ago, and they believe this was the motive for the killing.
They also said Squire and his wife had e-mail contact after the date of the death.
She is considered a person of interest, police said.
Authorities said Denise Squire has been "less than cooperative" with investigators.
The Lake County Sheriff's Department said it had evidence that Squire and his wife exchanged a series of e-mails after Squire staged his death.
Police are still investigating Newman's cause of death.
Created: 3/10/2008 9:24:52 PM
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