On October 19, a male’s body was discovered in the Ranch Inn parking lot. Mesa Police Department (MPD) responded and discovered that the deceased was a victim of a homicide. The officers say they responded to the motel for a welfare check on Thursday morning. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a man dead in the parking lot from a gunshot wound to his upper back. Investigators determined that the individual was 32-year-old Austin David Parton, a student that attended Mesa Community College (MCC). Court records reported that investigators determined Parton’s car, iPhone, and two laptops were missing from the scene.
On Monday, Mesa Police arrested Michael Alexander Abel. Investigators also learned that Parton would routinely meet with people to sell a variety of Apple products through the mobile app OfferUp. Abel arranged to meet with Parton to purchase a MacBook through the app. They meet at the location where Parton’s body was found. Records state that the detectives were able to track down Abel through a phone number connected to an email linked to his OfferUp account that led them to a Mesa woman who knew Abel and told detectives that Abel would routinely meet people to sell items through OfferUp.
Five days later police were able to locate Parton’s car in south Phoenix. Abel was interviewed by police where he admitted to listing items but never selling the laptop then refusing to further discuss his OfferUp activity. Police obtained a search warrant and investigators found multiple Apple devices and ammunition matching the type used in the murder. Abel was arrested and booked with a bond set at $750,000.
They are seeking first-degree murder and armed robbery with a deadly weapon against him, according to charging documents by police to Maricopa County Superior Court. A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.