The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged Justin Thomas, a 28-year-old Detroit man, with first-degree murder in the May 2016 homicide of an elderly man on Detroit's east side, court records show.

Court records name the victim as Robert Peterson.

Peterson, 77, was found dead on May 17, 2016, said Officer Dan Donakowski, a Detroit Police Department spokesman.


Friends and a former roommate grew concerned that Peterson hadn't responded to their phone calls. The former roommate still had a key and went into his home on the 19000 block of Albion — south of Seven Mile, west of Hoover on the city's east side — to check on him.

In his bedroom, they found Peterson dead. He'd been shot in his chest and in one hand. His friends called the police.

A warrant for Thomas was issued Wednesday. He faces four charges: first-degree murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, and felony firearm.

Michigan Department of Corrections records show that Thomas is an inmate at the Marquette Branch Prison in the Upper Peninsula. In March 2017, Thomas was convicted of several offenses in an unrelated case dating back to September 2016, including armed robbery and assaulting a police officer. He won't be eligible for parole until March 2047.

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