LAKE MARY, Fla. - Just over a week ago, a husband and wife were attacked inside their Orlando-area home, leaving neighbors fearful as authorities searched for a suspect. An arrest has now been made in the case.
On Wednesday, fugitive units with the Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested Alexander Martinez Perez, 42, of Poinciana, on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and burglary with assault or battery.
Deputies with the Sheriff's Office visited a home on Cascade Oaks Drive on the night of Monday, June 22, after a vehicle registered to the address was involved in a hit-and-run incident off Lake Underhill Road. When they arrived at the residence, they discovered that one of the victims in the attack, a Vietnam War veteran identified as 68-year-old Jon Payne, was killed. His wife, 69-year-old Anabella, was left badly injured.
Friends and family described Payne as a loving man with a beautiful sense of humor.
"They didn’t have much. They just had each other and this guy just took it away from them," said Marlene Martinez, Anabella's cousin.
Martinez said Anabella is a breast cancer survivor who recently suffered a stroke and was confined to a medical bed in the home. She was being cared for by Payne.
"She’s very scared of what’s going to happen to her now because he was her rock," she added.
On the night of the alleged attack, detectives said Payne confronted the suspect behind his home after hearing noises. According to an autopsy report, Payne suffered fatal blows to the head, causing fractures to the skull with cerebral contusions and hemorrhaging.
Detectives said Martinez Perez then broke into the home and terrorized Payne's wife, demanding money. Investigators said, at one point, the suspect used a silver box cutter to cut her across her throat, causing a laceration. Another time, they said he placed the box cutter against her chest, causing two smaller lacerations. Investigators said Martinez Perez eventually left the house in a van belonging to the couple that was later involved in the hit and run.
According to an arrest report, seven hours before the murder, a deputy had been called to a different scene where the suspect was involved.
“The subject was lying down on private property, was not wanted for anything, and was not breaking the law," an Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson explained.
That deputy was able to identify the suspect after seeing the bulletin from the murder.
Court records show that Martinez Perez has a long criminal history from Polk, Osceola, and Orange counties, ranging from burglary, criminal mischief, and grand theft. He had served time in prison from 2015-2019.
Martinez Perez has been booked into the Orange County Jail without bond.