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Tony Peralta confesses to killing owner William Blodgett in 2008

Earlier this month, officers found Tony Peralta sitting on a sidewalk not far from the convenience store in a small southeastern New Mexico community where he borrowed a cell phone – so he could call 911 and confess to having killed his owner 15 years earlier.

Sweating and puffing on his cigarette, he told them he was tired of covering her up, tired of living with lies, and tired of being overwhelmed with guilt. He agreed to take the officers to where he buried the body before getting up and volunteering to be handcuffed.

Roswell police released the 911 recording and nearly an hour of body camera video from the officer in response to a recording request filed by The Associated Press. Footage from May Day shows Peralta repeatedly thanking officers for picking him up.

“I confess, man. I confess. I don’t want to live without confessing anymore,” he said as he sat in an interrogation room at police headquarters.

Uniformed officers and detectives who spoke with Peralta peppered him with questions about when the murder occurred, how he did it, and why. Peralta kept replying that he didn’t know or couldn’t remember, acknowledging that he had been drinking “a lot” the day he called 911.

Peralta, 37, was arraigned on Tuesday for first-degree murder but did not attend the hearing. He pleaded not guilty to the charge through his public defender, Ray Conley, who declined to comment after the hearing. Conley said he will ensure Peralta’s due process is followed as the case progresses in court.

On Tuesday, a judge also set Peralta’s trial for October, but said that date could change.

At times, authorities had asked if Peralta was making up the story and leading them in pursuit of the goose, as he didn’t provide many details other than to say he had killed someone a long time ago.

“There’s a corpse in there, man!” he told an officer while in the back of a patrol car parked outside the house where he was once a tenant of 69-year-old William Blodgett. Peralta said he would feel better once the body was found.

Investigators said they obtained a search warrant and found a boot, bones and dentures after removing plywood boards from a loose room at the side of the house.

The dentures were matched against Blodgett’s dental records – obtained in early 2009 after he was reported missing – and that led to a positive identification, police say.

CBS affiliate KRQE-TV reported that Blodgett’s son reported her missing in January 2009, saying he had not been seen since Christmas Eve. Court records reveal that police used a cadaver dog on the property days after she disappeared. According to a police report, a witness told police that Blodgett accused Peralta of stealing his wallet and tried to evict him. But, according to the report, neither the police dog nor Peralta provided any leads, and police closed the case reported by the station.

William Blodgett was last seen in December 2008.

Roswell Police

A tearful Peralta told police he didn’t know why he killed Blodgett. At one point, police video shows him resting his head on a table during an interview and sobbing.

Peralta told police he decided to come forward because “his heart hurts” and he thinks about it every day. He told an officer that Blodgett was a good man and that he killed himself for no reason while on methamphetamine.

“I have no excuse,” he told police. “A lot of people have an excuse. I don’t.”

Blodgett’s girlfriend and family had not seen him since late December 2008. She told police that Peralta, who was considered a suspect by police at first, allegedly had some sort of argument or fight with Blodgett, who had tried to evict him.

Authorities at the time spoke to Blodgett’s family, friends and neighbors and visited the home the two men shared, which appeared to have been abandoned with personal belongings still in place. Police found no immediate signs of foul play and Blodgett’s vehicle was still there, according to the original missing person report.

Detectives periodically passed the house but never spotted anyone.

Police said the case went cold after investigators exhausted all leads until Peralta’s 911 call.

Peralta said he wanted to confess because of his own family, and the detective told him he was also helping Blodgett’s family, KRQE reported.

“Tell them he was a good man and I shouldn’t have done what I did,” Peralta said. “He was always good to me, and I took his life for no reason, and I have no excuse.”


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