Prosecutors in Arizona have filed new charges in a four-year-old ax-murder case involving members of the racist Aryan Brotherhood.
In the new development, Charles Eugene Robbins, 59, of Phoenix, was arrested and booked into jail last week on a murder charge.
He is the second suspect to be charged with murder in the April 2014 beating death of Joshua Calkins, whose bloodied body was found wrapped in a blanket and tarp in a west Phoenix alley.
The victim was bound, gagged and nearly decapitated with an ax after he was forced to give a phone-call apology to a drug dealer he previously had robbed, investigators say.
In late 2014, Christopher Paul Mason, of Phoenix, identified by authorities as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, was the first to be arrested in the investigation. His trial is set for next year, and he faces the death penalty if convicted.
Both suspects and the victim had ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacy gang that operates in and outside of various prisons, authorities say.
In 2015, Robbins was charged with helping clean up the crime scene in a Glendale, Arizona, apartment and dumping the body, but those charges were later dropped by prosecutors.
They refiled the case last week “after a witness claimed Robbins had gone a step further than previously thought by participating in the killing at [the] apartment," the Arizona Republic reported.
Investigators say Mason attacked Calkins because he ended a romantic relationship with a woman affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood and had robbed a drug dealer.
They say Calkins, who was badly beaten over the course of a day, begged for his life and was forced to offer an apology over the phone for having robbed the drug dealer.
The victim’s former girlfriend, 49-year-old Brenna Janette Maas, gave Mason permission to kill Calkins, authorities say. She is now serving a 25-year prison term after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit kidnapping and assisting a criminal street gang in Calkins' death.