Man arrested in connection with northwest-side homicide

Published: Jul. 22, 2016 at 9:13 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 23, 2016 at 1:40 AM MST
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Nicolas Morelos. (Source: Facebook)
Nicolas Morelos. (Source: Facebook)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An arrest has been made in a homicide on Tucson's northwest side earlier this week.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said James R. Lapan Jr., 35, was arrested early Friday morning, July 22, on one count of first-degree murder.

MOBILE USERS: The KOLD News 13 mugshots of the month are available HERE.

The PCSD said Lapan was apprehended during a traffic stop on Pinal Air Park Road.

Friday morning detectives searched Lapan's home near Gladden Farms Drive and Lon Adams Road in Marana.

Michael Ramage, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was surprised to see so many sheriff's deputies nearby.

At least one cruiser had to be moved just so Ramage could leave for work. The scene was clear by the time he returned him, but Ramage said he was still thinking about what he saw earlier in the day.

"You hear something like this, it really blows you away," he said.

A woman who answered the door at Lapan's home said they had nothing to say.

Nicolas Morelos, 45, was found dead inside his home in the 9200 block of North Grouse Place on Monday, July 18.

READ MORE: Sheriff ID's victim in NW-side homicide.

While the victim Morelos was the Director of Maintenance, an employee at Pinal Air Park said the suspect Lapan worked there as a mechanic.

Appearing before a judge, Lapan had his bond reduced from $1 million to $150,000. His attorney told the judge there was a lack of evidence connecting Lapan to the crime, so he deserved a reduced bond.

Lapin's next court date is August 1 and he cannot posses any firearms in the meantime, according to the judge.

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