On Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 the Sacramento Police Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit obtained an arrest warrant on 44-year-old Michael Peterson for the 1992 murder of John Arana.
On November 5, 1992, at 10:40 a.m., John Arana was discovered by a friend suffering from stab wounds in his house at 5434 10th Avenue. Arana’s truck and items from inside his residence had been stolen. Arana died from his injuries at the residence.
A few days after the homicide, Arana’s stolen vehicle was located by the Sacramento Police Department. The vehicle was parked unoccupied approximately 1½ miles from Arana’s residence.
In 2003, the Sacramento Police Department along with the Sacramento County District Attorneys Office reviewed this case. Items of evidence were examined and the Sacramento County Crime Lab was able to extract a DNA profile from evidence located inside Arana’s residence. This profile was uploaded and searched against both the state and national DNA databases. There was no match in the databases and the suspect’s identity remained unknown.
On January 14, 2009, cold case detectives were running out of possible leads in the case when they received a call from Sacramento County Criminalist Jeff Herbert. Herbert informed detectives that a DNA match was made on this sixteen year old murder case. The DNA match was for Michael Peterson. Peterson had recently been convicted and sent to prison in Missouri. It was based on the recent conviction that Peterson’s DNA profile was entered into the DNA database.
Michael Peterson has an extensive criminal history in both California and Missouri. Peterson was on parole in Sacramento at the time of the Arana murder.
Detectives are working with the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office to arrange for Peterson’s return to Sacramento for prosecution.