Christopher Brian Colbert, a 43-year-old hairdresser and freelance photographer for the LGBTQ newspaper Dallas Voice, is pleading guilty to killing his former landlord, burying his body under a slab of concrete, stealing his identity, racking up $40,000 in credit card debt in his name and then selling his house to someone on the Internet.
The victim was 57-year-old Ronald Shumway, who mysteriously vanished last April.
In September, the family that had moved into Shumway’s house started noticing a “bad smell” wafting out of the backyard.
That’s when police found human remains buried under a slab of concrete.
DNA analysis confirmed they belonged to Shumway.
After identifying the body, it didn’t take long for authorities to link Shumway’s murder back to Colbert, who had been his tenant just a few months earlier before one day packing up and jetting off to California.
According to police, during questioning, Colbert implied that he and Shumway were once a couple and had lived together but “went back to being friends” after Colbert moved out of the house.
Apparently, that friendship didn’t last — because Colbert confessed to strangling Shumway during an argument.
According to him, however, he was acting in self-defense after Shumway tried to choke him first.
Colbert also admitted to wrapping Shumway’s corpse in a black plastic sheet and burying it in concrete.
Shumway’s remains indicated signs of strangulation, and his hands and feet had been bound with neckties.
Afterwards, Coblert said he hacked into Shumway’s email account and sent his boss a message saying he was quitting his job, then he went onto Shumway’s Facebook page and told his friends he had found his “midnight cowboy,” moved to Austin and was “loving the ranch life.”
Then he opened a credit card in Shumway’s name, sold his house to a man on Craigslist, and fled for California.
Colbert, who is being held in a Los Angeles County jail, is awaiting extradition to Texas. His bond is set at $150,000.