A convicted felon and suspected gang member has been charged in connection with the April murder of a couple at their Cleveland car dealership.
Joseph McAlpine has been formally charged with aggravated murder and is currently in custody at the Cleveland City Jail.
Trina Kuznik and her husband Michael Kuznik were both found shot to death at Mr. Cars Inc. on East 185th Street on April 14.
Police said the couple’s son discovered their bodies after he had trouble reaching them.
According to court documents, McAlpine's DNA was found on evidence at the crime scene.
McAlpine has been out of jail for less than a year. The 29-year-old spent the last eight years serving a sentence for a 2008 aggravated robbery conviction where he held a knife up to a woman's neck and threatened to kill her.
In a news release Tuesday, Mayor Frank Jackson said: “Our concern is for all victims of crime and their families. While we’re happy to have gotten to this point, we will continue to work on the Kuznik case until all who are involved are brought to justice –this is still an open investigation.”
Ward 8 Councilman Michael Polensek, who was briefed by police, said after the murders, all the car keys, titles and the surveillance system went missing.
“Obviously, they were going to sell some cars! They were going to sell some hot cars," Polensek said. "You kill somebody over some car titles and keys and cars. I mean, the people who do these types of crimes in our neighborhoods, they’re predators.”
Before Trina's death, she spoke to News 5 Investigator Sarah Buduson about a recent break-in at the business. In the interview, Kuznik complained about police response times and said it took an officer six hours to respond to her call.
"We have a huge problem in this city — a huge problem!” Kuznik said in a March 22 interview that was set to air at a later date. “You can’t get the police here. There’s either not enough officers, or too much crime or something’s going on to the fact that we can’t get any help or support here.”
After the homicide,there was confusion over how many vehicles were stolen from the lot. Police originally said two vehicles were stolen but both were later located and determined not to be associated with the homicide. Authorities then identified another car that may have been stolen. As of April 24, that vehicle — a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL — had not been found.
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