Arrested for the brutal murder is Leroy Wilson, 37.
Neighbors were familiar with Wilson who worked in the area as a handyman. He lived at two location with two girlfriends, reports say.
Police believe that Wilson, who has a lengthy and violent criminal history, was caught stealing at Holmes home. That prompted his to attack her, they speculate.
The crime was reported July 4, 2015 and occurred near Philadelphia in East Mout Airy, Pennsylvania.
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Philadelphia police have arrested a man in Monday's slaying of an elderly woman from East Mount Airy, officials announced Saturday.
In a news conference at police headquarters, Capt. James Clark, commanding officer of the homicide unit, identified the suspect as Leroy Wilson, 37, who was arrested early Saturday morning in Norristown.
Clark said Wilson lived at the homes of girlfriends in Norristown and North Philadelphia.
Regina Brunner Holmes, 85, was found Monday in her East Mount Airy home, beaten, stabbed, and with her throat slashed. Holmes, a grandmother and a part-time employee at the Chestnut Hill Local newspaper, was a fixture in her community, and her violent death shocked those who knew her.
Wilson was known as "Leroy the Handyman" to neighbors and for at least a year had done odd jobs for residents in the area, Clark said.
He had worked for Holmes before, which police believe led her to let him into her home Monday. Police think Holmes may have caught Wilson stealing something, causing him to attack her, Clark said.
Wilson has a "violent and lengthy" criminal history and has been arrested more than 20 times, mainly in Florida, with a few violent-crime arrests in Philadelphia, Clark said.
In the hours after the slaying, one of the few clues police had to go on was the fact that Holmes' car had been taken from her driveway. The car was found later that week on the 3100 block of Stillman Street in North Philadelphia - and then some of Holmes' possessions were found in a house on that block, including her laptop.
One police source said Wilson's fingerprints were found on the car and laptop, leading police to identify the man they would eventually arrest. They then identified Wilson in a photo taken at an ATM where he allegedly attempted to use Holmes' debit card. Attempted online purchases using her credit card were traced to an address allegedly linked to Wilson.
The belongings led police to associates of the man they would eventually arrest, the source said. With their help, police were able to track the suspect to Norristown on Saturday.
Detectives in the homicide unit had worked round the clock since Monday to find the suspect, Clark said.
"They had vowed that they were not going to take this holiday until they brought the killer to justice," he said.
Police believe Wilson acted alone, Clark said.
Since Wilson's arrest, some neighbors who had hired him have reported thefts they believe he could have perpetrated, Clark said.
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