RALEIGH — Police in Raleigh arrested two men on murder charges Friday, 5-1/2 months after Eleazar Hererra was stabbed to death on New Hope Road when he stopped at 5 a.m. to see whether he could help at the scene of a traffic accident.
Samuel Gideon, 35, of 100 Bart St. in Holly Springs and Christopher Todd Rochelle, 34, of 4901-A Coral Ridge Court in Raleigh were charged. Police said they were at the scene when Eleazar, 20, stopped on his way home from a family party to see whether he could help where an SUV had crashed into a pole on New Hope Road near Wallingford Drive.
Shortly before, there had been a break-in, robbery and car theft on Wallingford Drive, and police initially suspected those and Hererra’s killing were connected. They later said the incidents were being investigated as separate crimes, however, and two men arrested in connection with the break-in were not charged in Hererra’s death.
Police did not say Friday why Rochelle and Gideon were on the street that morning, but Rochelle’s address is a three-family house around the corner. The break-in on Wallingford Drive was between Coral Ridge Court and Pebble Beach Drive.
Police had been told that the men who stabbed Hererra ran away on foot. Police saturated the neighborhood when the crimes were reported, but they could not find either the men in the vehicle or those who had stabbed Hererra.
Hererra’s family held a vigil for him at Raleigh Memorial Park cemetery in May to remind the public that his killing had not been solved and that he had not been forgotten.
Police had been seeking help from the public since the killing as they tried to identify suspects.
Hererra was driving one of two cars in which family members were returning from the party. The other car continued, but Hererra turned around to see whether the people in the crashed car needed help, police said at the time. There was some altercation, and then he was stabbed, detectives said.
Hererra and his family owned a cleaning business. He had moved to the area about five years ago, his family said.
Gideon and Rochelle were each held without bail. In addition, Gideon is being held on a detainer request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The request says he is from Ethiopia. ICE, through the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, often issues a detainer when a criminal suspect’s immigration status is uncertain.