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Two charged in the 2017 killing of homeless man

Randy Hilliard (MDC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than two years after a group of homeless people watched two men set their friend on fire beneath an Albuquerque overpass, charges have been filed in the killing.

A grand jury on Friday indicted Randy Hilliard, 48, and Billy Harper, 47, on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated arson in connection with the death of 50-year-old Leo Molzhon.

Hilliard was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Monday night. An arrest warrant has been issued for Harper.

It was the afternoon of June 14, 2017, when officers responded to a blaze beneath Interstate 40 at 12th NW. They found Molzhon and a mattress he had been lying on engulfed in flames.

Officers put out the fire with an extinguisher, and Molzhon was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died.

Witnesses told officers two men doused Molzhon in gasoline and set him on fire. Albuquerque Fire Rescue arson investigators assisted homicide detectives with the investigation.

Both Harper and Hilliard have a criminal history consisting mostly of battery, shoplifting, evading arrest and trespassing charges, according to online court records.

Some of Molzhon’s friends previously told the Journal he was originally from Minnesota and had been living on the streets for more than a year. They also said he had a teenage daughter he had recently reconnected with and described him as someone who gave to others, despite not having much.

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