A Tucson businessman killed in his Foothills home last week spent his last hours tied to a chair with his own belts and neckties as his house was ransacked and stripped of valuables, a court document shows.
Robert Belman, 71, was still tied to the chair when Pima County sheriff’s deputies found him dead in the master bedroom Thursday, according to an interim criminal complaint filed Friday at Pima County Justice Court.
The suspect charged in the killing had been ordered off Belman’s property three days earlier when he set off a security alarm that triggered a law enforcement visit, the sheriff’s document said.
It also said a a second person may have been involved.
Belman was essentially immobilized — restrained in the chair by his neck, chest arms, legs and ankles — and had “obvious signs of trauma” when deputies found his body at his home in the 5400 block of East Calle Barril, near the intersection of North Craycroft Road and East Territory Drive.
Employees at Arizona Auto Refrigeration, the company Belman owned, had requested a welfare check because their boss seemed to have gone missing, the affidavit stated.
Security camera footage from the day before Belman’s body was found showed a person wearing a red shirt, dark shoes and ski mask who appeared to be pushing the victim into a room, it said.
Electronics and other valuables were missing from Belman’s home and a safe in the master bathroom had been opened with a key and cleaned out.
The victim’s wallet was empty and his white 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup was also missing, it said.
Deputies found the truck with a fake license plate about a quarter-mile from where they found the murder suspect in the 700 block of East Navajo Road, near North 1st Avenue and East Fort Lowell Road, the interim complaint said.
A search of another vehicle the suspect was seen in turned up numerous items that belonged to Belman including the license plate to his truck, the document said.
It said deputies are also seeking another man who was reportedly trying to sell some of the stolen items.
Frank Eugene Martinez, Jr., 34, is charged on suspicion of first-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary and unlawful use of means of transportation.
Martinez is the same man a deputy ordered off Belman’s property three days before the victim’s body was found, the interim complaint said.
It said Martinez tripped an alarm that day when he entered a garage workshop. He told the deputy who responded that he’d been out walking in the neighborhood and that Belman had given him a bottle of water so he wanted to stop by to say thanks.
Belman confirmed to the deputy that he’d given the man water and at that point, “Mr. Martinez was asked to leave the property,” the document said.
In an interview with law enforcement, Martinez denied involvement with Belman’s killing, the complaint said
“He said it was not his intention to burglarize the house and denied ever going into the house,” it said.
Martinez did admit “to having committed other burglaries recently but did not provide a date or location,” it added.
The investigation continues and anyone with information is asked to call 88-CRIME.