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Arrest made in deadly Gilbert home invasion

Gilbert Police announced the arrest of 32-year-old Jacob Samia on Monday in connection to the murder of a military veteran.

GILBERT, Ariz. — Gilbert Police announced the arrest of 32-year-old Jacob Samia on Monday in connection to the Oct. 11 murder of a Gilbert military veteran.

Samia was originally arrested on the same day of the crime. But the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to file charges within the required time frame of 72 hours, citing a need for more information.

Now, two weeks later, Gilbert Police have re-arrested Samia.

“The Gilbert Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit continued the investigation, which resulted in the arrest of Samia earlier today,” said Gilbert spokesperson Brenda Carrasco in a written statement to 12 News.

It is unknown what specific evidence prompted Samia’s re-arrest.

As 12 News has previously reported, during the early morning hours of Oct. 11, the suspect left a trail of blood more than a quarter-mile long before committing the murder.

RELATED: Suspect freed after deadly Gilbert home invasion

According to police, the suspect now identified as Samia was at the intersection of Cooper and Warner roads, where he smashed a window of a vape shop that was closed. Zamia had been drinking with friends, according to court records.

Bloodied and injured, Samia allegedly walked several blocks east to the intersection of Warner Road and 131st Street.

Samia then allegedly broke into the first house on the street corner where 73-year-old Frank Bernal lived.

According to court records, Samia beat and strangled Bernal. 

There is no evidence the two knew each other and the attack appears random. 

Samia then allegedly walked north of Warner Road into another neighborhood and knocked on the door of a house. 

That homeowner called police and Zamia was arrested. 

Police quickly linked him to the property damage and assault.

Credit: Gilbert Police Department

Frank Bernal survived the initial attack, so Samia did not face a murder charge after his first arrest.

But last week, Bernal died after spending several days in the hospital.

RELATED: Man killed in Gilbert home invasion, still no suspect information

Bernal is a descendant of a founding family of Gilbert, dating back to the early 1900s, and he served his community throughout his life, friends say. 

Bernal graduated from North High School in 1964 and received a Purple Heart in Vietnam. 

He graduated from Arizona State University in 1972 and eventually retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“For Bernal, life was all about family – his own and others, and he used his business degree to help facilitate the development of affordable housing for families, among other career achievements,” Joe Garcia, director of Public Policy at Chicanos Por La Causa, said in a written statement.