Police arrest a man accused of killing another man, whose body was found behind a Southwest Oklahoma City shopping center Monday morning. They have not released the name of the victim.
Business owners in the shopping center near South Penn and S.W. 59th Street say transients are in the area all the time, but they're still not sure how a body ended up behind their building.
"It's creepy," says Chris Chhim, owner of Gerald's Donut. "I came in like a regular day to work at 3:45 and cops surrounded the place a little after."
Oklahoma City Police say two transients spotted the body while walking near South Pennsylvania Avenue, and they were key in helping officers make an arrest.
"I just happened to be here to see what was going on around this place," says 89-year-old Wes Beasley, who was a longtime member of Hillcrest United Methodist near where the body was discovered.
Beasley says he checks on his old church from time to time and stopped when he saw the gate near the church's alley was wide open.
"It's normally, always locked, and the lock belonged to my dad, many, many years ago," Beasley said.
When Beasley found out a man's body was found this morning behind the building, he says he wasn't shocked.
"Not surprised at all, not really because in the last several years or so a lot of homeless people have used it as a place to sleep," Beasley said. "A man in a trailer even lived on the property for a year one time and people have stolen things in the back of the property."
In between the caution tape on the back of the buildings, there was a pillow on the grass next to a backpack, shopping cart, and a radio.
Police say the man appeared to be in his mid-50s and his body looked like it may have been left outside for several hours. Homicide investigators say after interviewing several witnesses and gathering evidence, they arrested 60-year-old Douglas Lee Phillips for first-degree murder.
Beasley says he's saddened to see how the area has declined over the years.
"My wife and I first came out here in 1950s," Beasley says. "This area has really changed."
Police are still waiting for the Medical Examiner's report to determine the man's cause of death.