Tony Peralta told authorities his secret had been eating at him for more than a decade.
He had been considered a suspect in what was believed to be the murder of his landlord, William “Bill” Blodgett, after his sudden disappearance in December 2008, authorities in Roswell, New Mexico, said.
But Blodgett was never found. No one was arrested. The case had seemingly gone cold.
That all changed last month when 37-year-old Peralta borrowed a phone, called police and made a blunt confession to a crime he says he committed nearly 15 years ago, according to an arrest affidavit.
“A lot of people have an excuse, I don’t have one,” he told a detective, according to the affidavit. Peralta called the Roswell Police Department on May 1. In an emotional scene captured on police body camera, he repeatedly confesses to Blodgett’s killing, even telling authorities the weapon he used and where he buried the victim’s body, the arrest affidavit states.
Peralta faces a first-degree murder charge, according to the Chaves County District Attorney’s Office. CNN is attempting to reach Blodgett’s son, Greg, for comment.
“I’m just tired of covering it up,” Peralta can be heard saying in video released by the Roswell Police Department. “I’m tired of living with my life, sir,” he told responding police, adding that guilt drove him to reach out.
“I killed somebody, dude,” he told a detective later in an interview room, saying, “I killed him with a screwdriver.”
Peralta can be seen crying as he discusses details of the case with authorities.
Blodgett’s son, Greg, reported him missing on January 3, 2009, after no one in his family was able to reach him for more than 10 days, police say. Police investigated and learned Blodgett reportedly had an issue with his tenant, later identified as Peralta, around that time and tried to evict him, a police report cited in the criminal affidavit said. A detective later interviewed Peralta but “no new leads” came from the conversation, the affidavit said.
Authorities searched the home and the neighborhood, talking with neighbors and using a cadaver dog, but did not find anything. Blodgett’s vehicle was still parked at the home and there were no withdrawals from his bank account, the affidavit says.
Police eventually said the case got cold and was closed. “All leads in reference to this case have been exhausted. This case will be closed pending further leads or information,” the police report cited in the affidavit states.
In May, Peralta told authorities he had taken some pills and had been drinking before calling police and ultimately making the confession. “I confess. I don’t want to live life anymore without confessing,” Peralta says in the body camera footage.
“He was a good man and didn’t deserve what I did,” Peralta told officers of Blodgett, according to the affidavit “He was always good to me and I took his life for no reason.”
Peralta’s attorney, Ray Conley, did not offer a specific comment regarding the case but told CNN via email that, “Peralta was arraigned this week and entered a not guilty plea, as is customary at this stage of the process.”
Police video shows Peralta taking officers to the Roswell home where the crime allegedly happened. Officers with shovels can be seen digging in the video, which is partially blurred. “There’s a shoe,” one officer can be heard saying.
The affidavit says authorities found several bones, including a skull.
A preliminary hearing in the case was waived by Peralta. He is expected back in court on August 21 for a status conference hearing.