LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man who is accused of murdering a friend and taking the body to California to dispose of was caught after he got stuck in the desert and called a tow truck company for help, according to the arrest report.
Gino Anthony Julian, 30, of Las Vegas, was arrested by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on a charge of open murder. The victim was identified as 30-year-old Aaron Chavez, his roommate.
Police documents said Julian called for help when he got stuck in a desert area near Baker, California, on Sunday, Aug. 13.
When the tow truck company arrived at his vehicle, the two drivers noticed Julian was asleep in a Mercedes sedan and they “observed a burned and partially buried body approximately 10′ from the driver’s side door,” according to the arrest report.
The two employees did not wake Julian and left the scene to alert the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to their discovery.
Officers said when they first spoke with Julian, he lied to them about why he was stuck at that spot in the desert. Later, he did tell detectives that he transported Chavez’s body to California but didn’t kill him.
He then told detectives that he was working for some unknown individuals in Miami who sent him duffle bags to deliver to various locations and he was paid $5,000 to $10,000 per delivery, according to police documents. He added he received a note on Aug. 10 that said “Take Care of it.” Two days later, he said he found a wrapped body in the backseat of his Mercedes and believed the message was meant for him to dispose of Chavez’s body and that’s when he went to California and poured gasoline on the body and lit it on fire, the report said.
As part of their evidence, detectives found videos on Julian’s cellphone that showed the two men together prior to the murder, Julian physically assaulting Chavez, and a video that showed Julian’s burning body. There was also a text on Julian’s phone to an unknown person stating “We shouldn’t have people over for a while because we need to clean the apartment,” documents said.
The official cause of death for Chavez was blunt force trauma to the head. The report said Chavez’s feet, thighs, and hands were bound.
When officers searched Julian’s apartment on W. Serene Ave., near Las Vegas Boulevard, blood was found on the back patio and in the backyard. They also found pillowcases that matched the sheet wrapped around Chavez’s body.
Julian is currently being held in the San Bernardino Detention Center awaiting extradition to Las Vegas where he is facing an open murder charge.