The Ithaca Police Department says a 45-year-old Ithaca man was arrested Tuesday night in connection with a suspicious death reported in Collegetown yesterday.
Investigators arrested Michael A. Davis at about 10pm last night and charged him with murder in the second degree and arson in the first degree, according to an IPD statement. The victim has been identified as a resident of Ithaca known as Josie Berrios.
According to IPD, the victim had been reported to be male, but “self-identifies as a female.” Police are “choosing to honor the victim by utilizing the name she has chosen, Josie Berrios, in all references except in official court documents.”
The House of Merlot performing troupe says the “proud trans woman of color” has also been known as Kendra Adams. “She always tried her best to make new performers feel comfortable in our spaces.”
“Investigators have identified a personal relationship between the victim and Davis,” according to police.
“Great teamwork solved this case by analyzing the evidence, developing a suspect, and making the arrest less than 24 hours after the incident,” said acting police chief Pete Tyler in a statement.
On Wednesday afternoon, police added that they “would like to speak to anyone who may have seen someone walking or hitchhiking on Ellis Hollow Road, Turkey Hill Road, or Ellis Hollow Creek Road” on Tuesday morning from 5:00-6:45am. Contact IPD through police dispatch at 607-272-3245, the administration line at 607-272-9973, the Crimestoppers Tipline at 607-697-0333, or the anonymous online tip form.
Davis was arraigned in front of Ithaca city court judge Scott Miller and remanded to Tompkins County Jail without bail. He is due back in court on June 19th.