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Affidavit: Santa Fe murder victim was stabbed

SANTA FE — A former wedding and event planner who was found dead in his mid-city apartment last month appeared to have been stabbed to death, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Santa Fe District Court.

A homicide investigation was launched after Michael Willms, 58, was found dead in his Avaria of Santa Fe apartment on Lorca Drive the afternoon of June 21.


Michael Willms

Santa Fe Police Lt. Marvin Paulk said Thursday that officers have spoken with several people of interest in the case but still don’t have a suspect.

An affidavit used to obtain a warrant to search Willms’ car says firefighters entered the apartment through an unlocked door before police got there.

Willms was found face-up on a bed with what appeared to be stab wounds on his neck, shoulder and face. Blood had saturated the mattress.

In 2015, Willms filed a restraining order against a former roommate who he alleged had hurt him and threatened to kill him. Willms’ filings in that case show he claimed indigency and that he had been unemployed for 18 months.

Late last year, Matthew Culley, 19, was charged with robbery and battery on household member for a November incident where he allegedly struck Willms with glass table-top. He was in jail until June 26, five days after Willms’ death was discovered. Charges against Culley were dropped by prosecutors on June 25 but can be refiled.

Willms was a former wedding events planner who moved from California to Santa Fe seven or eight years ago, a friend recently told the Journal.

An old blog for his company, Entertainment Design Events, says he planned events for the likes of President Jimmy Carter, Sarah Ferguson, and Audrey Hepburn. He had been quoted in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal as a wedding expert.

A friend told the Journal that Willms had been associating with homeless people in recent years.



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