Police arrested 73-year-old Abraham Tovar on Wednesday at his Alhambra home for the 1981 slaying of Charles McGhee, according to a press release from the LAPD. More than three decades after the victim was shot and beaten to death on New Year's Day in South Los Angeles, the LAPD finally concluded a months-long investigation of Tovar after having discovered that he was living on Chapel Avenue in Alhambra since 2008.
Police say Tovar and his brother Andrew had an earlier dispute with a man in a vacant lot around the 2300 block of Central Avenue just south of downtown. Armed with a handgun and a hatchet, they returned later that day seeking revenge, but unable to find the man, allegedly turned on Charles McGhee and Wayne Alexis, killing McGhee at the scene. Alexis survived his gunshot wounds and later testified against Andrew, who served time in state prison and has since died. Abraham, who was suspected of shooting both men, disappeared just after the attack, and remained a fugitive with an outstanding homicide warrant for 31 years.
LAPD homicide detectives that were assigned to the cold case began following new leads, conducting surveillance and interviews of Tovar's friends and family over the course of several months. The investigation led to two search warrants and finally his arrest. Lieutenant Andy Nieman of the LAPD said, "This is a perfect example of how sooner or later, the long arms of the law will catch up with criminals."