- Associated Press - Monday, August 7, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - A married couple has been arrested in a homicide case after a dead body was found at an east Phoenix home and the woman told police her husband allegedly killed the victim with a baseball bat last month.

Phoenix police on Monday said Leviticus Najar, 32, and his 35-year-old wife Metika Najar have been booked into jail on suspicion of abandonment of a dead body.

The victim hasn’t been identified yet, according to Sgt. Vince Lewis, a police spokesman.

Police said human remains were discovered in a concealed location inside the home last Wednesday that the suspects had been renting from Metika Najar’s father since 2005.

In a probable cause statement released Monday, the owner of the home called police after he said he was doing renovations and pulled up the flooring in a back bedroom and found a 6-foot tool box wrapped in plastic with a foul odor coming from it.

Police cut through 12 layers of wrapping to find a human skull wrapped in duct tape.

They said Metika Najar told officers that she and her husband let a man and his brother stay at the home periodically over the past three months.

She told police that a few weeks ago, she saw her husband go into a room and “heard what sounded like a bat hit a bicycle three times.” She said she believed her husband struck the victim because he had been making romantic overtures toward her or “he was attempting to get the bad spirits out of his body.”

Metika Najar said she husband put the dead body in their backyard wood shed wrapped in a tarp and she never saw it again.

She also told police that she burned the mattress where the man was killed in late July to protect her husband.

Police said the outline of the mattress was found next to large fire pit in the backyard along with some burned clothes.

Leviticus Najar was ordered held on a $75,000 bond and his wife on a $10,000 bond at their initial court appearances Monday. Neither has an attorney yet.

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