Suspect arrested after firefighters find body in residential blaze

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 20, 2021 | Updated April 23, 2021 1:29pm

 Walton

Walton

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ROSEVILLE — A suspect is in custody and has been charged with homicide and arson following an investigation by the Roseville Police Department and Roseville Fire Department after a fire destroyed a home in the Leslie’s Mobile Home Complex and a body was discovered inside.

According to the Police Department, the fire occurred at approximately 10 a.m. April 19 at a home inside the complex, which is located in the 25000 block of Gratiot Avenue, near the intersection with 10 Mile Road.

Fire Department personnel responded, extinguished the blaze and found one deceased individual inside. According to the Police Department, the deceased was identified as Janisa Sumpter, a 39-year-old Roseville woman and a resident of the home that burned down. Police said that an autopsy was conducted and the case was determined to be a homicide.

The suspect was identified as 36-year-old Robert Walton of Garden City, who police said is an ex-boyfriend of Sumpter and has “an extensive violent criminal history.” He has been charged with one count of first-degree murder — premeditated, which carries a sentence of life without parole, and one count of first-degree arson.

“Investigators worked tirelessly since the body was discovered on April 19 and were able to secure the arrest warrants (on April 21),” Roseville Deputy Police Chief Mitch Berlin explained in an email. “Investigators were able to recreate Walton’s activities for the morning of April 19, 2021 using numerous investigative techniques coupled with dogged perseverance. Investigators learned that Robert Walton arrived at Ms. Sumpter’s residence intending to murder her. Evidence indicates that Walton arrived at the residence at approximately 8 a.m. and leaves the residence at approximately 9:50 a.m. just before it burst into flames. Investigators believe Ms. Sumpter was alive prior to Walton arriving and was murdered prior to the residence being set on fire. The Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide caused by asphyxiation with numerous knife wounds. Evidence further indicates that Walton set the residence on fire in an attempt to cover up the murder of Ms. Sumpter.”

The investigation was performed in conjunction with the Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Walton was arraigned on April 21 in 39th District Court. He is currently being held without bond.

Walton’s lawyer, Nijad Mehanna, did not wish to comment on the case at this time.

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