Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the execution-style killing of a Circle K clerk last week.
A photograph taken by a video camera in the convenience store the morning Tod J. Menuey, 26, was killed was distributed to the media Friday. Photographs appeared in local newspapers and on television. Less than 24 hours later, police were directed to the apartment of a man in Salt Lake City and then arrested him.Salt Lake police received a call about 2:30 a.m. Sunday from someone who had seen the photograph. Although detectives had received nearly 100 other calls concerning the photograph, that caller had additional information that led officers to believe the person he identified may be the one police were looking for, explained Lt. Jim Bell.
Police went to the man's apartment at 217 S. Foss St. (1530 West) to question the suspect. Officers arrested him after finding amphetamines, and he was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for possession of a controlled substance.
While the man remained in jail, detectives began piecing additional evidence together. Tuesday, "criminal homicide" was added to the man's jail booking sheet. Detectives planned to discuss the case with the Salt Lake County attorney's office Wednesday.
Bell said detectives believe the suspect noticed his photograph in the newspapers or on TV and shaved his mustache and cut his hair. "He has changed his appearance drastically," he said.
But he hadn't altered his appearance enough to convince detectives he isn't their man.
"We attribute (the arrest) to the help of the media in getting this out to the public," said Bell, who also praised the public for providing nearly 100 tips since Friday. "We followed many, many other leads," he said.
Menuey, a divorced father of three living in Salt Lake City, was shot once in the back of the head inside the restroom at Circle K, 1692 W. North Temple, between 12:30 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 23.
A customer found Menuey's body inside the bathroom, phoned paramedics and then performed first aid until they arrived. Menuey, who had worked at the store for less than one year, died at LDS Hospital about three hours later.
Bell said the motive for the shooting appears to be robbery. Although he would not say how much money was taken, officers acknowledged it was not much - particularly since Circle K and other all-night convenience stores are designed with systems that keep a minimal amount of cash in the tills.
The suspect in the case escaped from a Colorado prison in June. Salt Lake police said he had lived in the Salt Lake area off and on since 1983. Bell said the man had been arrested several times before, including an arrest for aggravated assault in August 1990.
Detectives have issued search warrants at the man's apartment and at other locations since he was arrested Sunday.
Ernest Gabriel Hernandez, 26, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Sunday morning for investigation of criminal homicide and possession of a controlled substance, jail records state.