Inmate arrested in homicide cold case from 2006

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Joseph Sesmas By Alicia Barron Joseph Sesmas By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – Police have made an arrest in a cold case homicide investigation.

A woman’s body was discovered wrapped in a blanket in a waste water canal area near the 7600 block of West Baseline Road on Sept. 11, 2006, by a Maricopa County flood control worker.

The woman was identified through fingerprints as 27-year-old Stephanie Trotter. Law enforcement determined early into the investigation that she had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

The suspect in this case, Joseph Sesman, was located driving the victim’s car, which had been reported stolen, a few days after Trotter’s body was found. He was arrested for auto theft.

Investigators had gathered forensic evidence after Trotter murder, but that alone was not enough for police to arrest Sesman. He denied knowing or being in a relationship with Trotter.

Phoenix police’s Cold Case Homicide Squad reopened the case at the end of 2010 and started following up leads by speaking to a number of friends and associates of the victim and Sesman.

Investigators determined the suspect provided conflicting and inconsistent statements when he was arrested for the stolen vehicle. The new information was presented to a grand jury who handed down an indictment in May.

Sesman was in prison in Florence on an unrelated aggravated assault charge. He was booked on one count of second-degree murder on Wednesday.