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Homicide suspect caught napping

POSTED January 14, 2011 9:51 p.m.

An arrest in the Christmas Eve homicide of a 46-year-old Modesto man was made Tuesday in Venice Beach while the suspect slept.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday that Dennis James Boyles, 42, had been taken into custody on a homicide charge in the death of Tevan Nicholson. Nicholson was found Christmas Eve in a home in Modesto’s airport district. According to the sheriff’s department, he was unresponsive, in an “altered level of consciousness” and had “unspecified injuries.” He was transported to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Boyles was the last known person to have contact with Nicholson and was identified as a person of interest early on in the investigation, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Luke Schwartz.

Authorities with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division found Boyles sleeping in the sand of Venice Beach early Tuesday morning, which is a violation of one of their local municipal codes.   

During the course of a records check, officers in Los Angeles revealed Boyles had an outstanding, no bail parole revocation warrant out of Illinois that had been issued in the wake of the Dec. 24 homicide.  Boyles was detained on the confirmed warrant, and detectives from Stanislaus County traveled to Southern California in order to conduct their interview regarding the circumstances surrounding Nicholson’s death.    

Through the interview with Boyles, detectives gathered enough information in order to obtain a first-degree murder warrant for his arrest.  Bail was set at $3 million and transportation arrangements are still being made in order to bring Boyles back to Modesto.

Anyone with further information regarding this case is urged to call Det. Darwin Hatfield at 525-7100.  Those that wish to remain anonymous may call Stanislaus County Area Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-866-602-7463 or locally at 521-4636.

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