Crime scene tape cordons off a building on Grand Ave. in New Haven where two people were found dead, July 24, 2004.
Updated: Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 11:26 AM EST
Published : Friday, 22 Feb 2013, 2:41 PM EST
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- It's a building that's been in New Haven since the early days of the previous century, but over the past few decades it's been a boarded home to the homeless, the scene of a fire, and the scene of a horrific murder of a man and woman.
The three story brick building at 776-780 Grand Avenue in Fair Haven, near the corner of Jefferson St., was built in 1900, city records show.
Back in 1910, The Shea Family, The Marros, The O'Keefs and The Shuberts all lived in the area of Grand and Jefferson. There were there business too, like today. In the 1920's you could find Kliger Brothers shoes and Losher & Campbell suits. In the 1940s, Economy Drug Co. was in the neighborhood. Close by was Grand Printing, and there were vacant stores too along Grand.
This particular building eventually fell into disrepair, and instead of being a home for families it became a refuge for the homeless who didn't necessarily care about the broken windows or the rusting fire escapes or the conditions inside.
"Yeah, you never know who's coming in here," Clarence Dixon told News 8 the day after the bodies were found.
The murders occurred July 24, 2004. The victims -- 38-year-old Michael Mobley and 37-year-old Louise Soules. The homeless couple was found brutally beaten to death.
The building was well known as a spot for the homeless. It had been vacant for years, but hadn't been known as a trouble spot, a city alderman said at the time. Some residents back then wondered aloud at neighborhood meetings whether it should be torn down.
Years went by with no clues to the case. Family members made visits to the boarded-up building around the anniversary date of the killings, leaving flowers for the victims, a reminder to passers-by of the horrible crime committed inside.
The big break in solving the cold case came in 2009, when a New Haven detective got a tip on a suspect. Someone had reportedly bragged about the killing. The search was on to find him.
In 2011 detectives tracked down their man; he was behind bars in Florida. DNA from the crime scene was a match, police said.
Charlie Levine is the suspect's name. He was eventually returned to Connecticut and arraigned on murder charges.
"We've waited a long time," Mobley's sister Angela said when the arrest was announced in December 2011. "We didn't think that the case would ever be closed. We never gave up hope, we kept praying."
Levine remains behind bars on a $2 million bond. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch's website, he has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for March 21.
The building still stands, even after Friday's fire, and no doubt there are some Fair Haven residents wondering again if the building should finally be torn down.
UPDATE: On Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, the only thing left of 776-780 Grand Ave. was a pile of bricks. The building was razed.