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Police have 2 suspects in homicide probe

January 9, 2017 News Extra

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State police in Butler have identified two suspects in the investigation into the brutal year-end slaying of 74-year-old James S. Martin at his East Butler home.

The pair was arrested last week after evidence linked them to the dead man’s bank debit card.

Police say Christopher Michael Cannon, 27, and Raheem Rondel Archer, 23, both of Butler, used or tried to use the card at two stores after the victim was repeatedly stabbed to death in his single-story house on Tenth Street.

“They are suspects in the homicide,” police Lt. Eric Hermick said this morning of Cannon and Archer. “Cannon is the stronger suspect for the violence that occurred in this case.”

Hermick released few details of the latest developments in the investigation. He acknowledged the suspects and Martin previously knew one another, but he would not elaborate.

Neither Cannon nor Archer has been charged in the homicide. For now, they are only charged in the alleged debit card fraud.

Cannon remains in the Butler County Prison on $30,000 bail. He also is being held on a probation detainer. Archer is free after posting $5,000 bail.

It was not immediately known if either suspect has an attorney. Archer could not be reached for comment this morning.

Police said Archer in an interview following his arrest “denied any involvement in the homicide.”

Martin was found dead in his blood-stained home, where he lived alone, shortly after 9 a.m. Dec. 31. An autopsy determined he suffered fatal stab wounds to the head, neck, chest and back.

Authorities have declined to say how many times he was stabbed. But the number and severity of the wounds, Hermick said, indicate “anger and rage” on the part of Martin’s attacker.

Hermick said they continue to investigate the case, which now will include trying to match DNA and fingerprint evidence collected from the crime scene to Cannon and Archer.

“This criminal case,” he said, “is complex and dynamic.”

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