He had just purchased the house on Anastasia Avenue, and gave the previous residents 30 days to move out.
But when the new homeowner stopped by Sunday to see whether the couple had left the Simi Valley, Calif., house, he made a grim discovery, according to police.
After no one answered the door, the unidentified homeowner went inside and found a body, partially covered, lying on a bed in a bedroom, Simi Valley Police Cmdr. Roy Jones said.
Salavatore Orefice, 84, died of a gunshot wound, police said. His longtime girlfriend, 75-year-old Mary Karacas, has been charged with murder.
Karacas was arraigned Tuesday, and the charges against her carry a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison, Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Tate McCallister said. Court records do not list attorney information for Karacas, whose next court appearance is set for Aug. 3.
After seeing the body Sunday afternoon, the new homeowner called police, then showed officers the bedroom, Jones said.
An “obviously deceased male” was inside, a police release said. Police immediately suspected foul play.
“Of course the officers thought it was unusual that a person with a self-inflicted gunshot would have been able to cover themselves,” Jones said.
As detectives and investigators interviewed neighbors and others, Karacas drove back to the house and spoke with officers there, Jones said.
In a later interview with detectives, she said that she had shot her boyfriend, Orefice, during an altercation, Jones said.
It’s unclear how long Orefice had been dead before his body was discovered. An autopsy is being conducted this week.
The house wasn’t known to law enforcement for calls for service, Jones said.
This is Simi Valley’s first homicide of 2016.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Elahe Izadi