Plano police say an Irving man attacked and killed his former girlfriend's stepfather and tried to burn his body.
Christopher James Holder, 28, is being held in the Collin County jail on a capital murder charge in the death of Billy Joe Tanner.
Tanner, 50, was found dead Nov. 11 in his Plano home.
Plano police spokesman Officer David Tilley said Holder dated Tanner's stepdaughter for about four months and lived with them from August until a few weeks before Tanner's death.
"It was a very, very complicated case, but he was someone we always kept our eyes on," Tilley said. "This is a big case because the murder was brutal. It was a personal attack."
Tilley said Holder may have believed Tanner had behaved inappropriately toward his ex-girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter. Family members told police they thought Holder wanted to confront Tanner after hearing a "confusing" statement from girl about how she did not want to live with her stepgrandfather anymore.
Police said further investigation shows no sign of abuse involving the children.
Tilley said the big break in the case came from an inmate at the Tarrant County Jail, Thomas Uselton.
According to the arrest affidavit, Uselton told police that Holder asked for his help in disposing of Tanner’s body, even pouring out gas cans into the home and lighting them in an attempt to burn the crime scene.
"That just totally made the case," Tilley said.
The fire was withheld from any public releases involving the case.
The witness also told police that Holder took Tanner's laptop and wallet to make the crime look like a robbery.
Investigators also recovered Tanner's missing 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck, which they publicly sought after the slaying, from a parking garage in Irving.
Holder's bond is set at $1 million.
His attorney, Steven Miears, said Wednesday morning that he had not yet spoken to Holder.