A 36-year-old man confessed to killing a 59-year-old woman inside her Castro Valley home before torching the house to hide the evidence, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern said Monday.
Luckie Dacany was charged with torture, homicide and arson for his role in the random crime, which occurred in the second week of December along the 1800 block of Grove Way, Ahern said.
Dacany apparently tried to burglarize the East Bay home before he was confronted by homeowner Andrea St. John, according to Ahern. Dacany then stabbed St. John, ignited a blaze and ditched the scene before emergency personnel arrived.
A subsequent investigation followed, but authorities were only able to identify a person of interest via dark and grainy video footage. That was the case until recently when Dacany, who was in custody in San Joaquin County for a sexual assault charge, confessed to the killing, according to Ahern.
"We were able to corroborate the fact that he did make statements in admission to being the suspect and provided us with information that only the suspect would know," Ahern said.
"This is the reason people get house alarms and have to protect themselves and purchase firearms," Ahern added. "Living in fear. We’re glad we’re able to make sure this person is never going to commit any other crime outside of jail again."
There appears to be no connection between Dacany and St. John.
"We were able to look at some video from the neighborhood, and it looked like (Dacany) was walking around and just randomly picked this residence," Ahern said. "There's no connection between the suspect or the victim. It's just a terrible set of circumstances."
St. John was the mother of two daughters and a grandmother, according to officials. Just before her death, she also lost her husband.
Neighbors, who have been on edge since the brutal slaying, said they were relieved to hear the man who investigators believe is responsible is behind bars. Neighbor Patti Zierman said she’s been terrified the killer would return.
"I’ve just been waiting for them to catch the person, knowing there is a murderer maybe in the neighborhood," she said.
Dacany does have a history of committing crimes in Alameda County, according to Ahern. He was previously arrested for stealing one car in Oakland and another in Union City.
In addition to announcing charges, Ahern also noted that authorities on Thursday recovered a stolen car believed to be used by Dacany during and after the crime. An investigation is ongoing to confirm that belief.
Dacany will remain in Stockton until his sexual assault case is complete, and then he will be transferred to Alameda County to face the charges related to the Castro Valley killing.