Mar 9, 2011 3:07 AM by Ariel Wesler (BT)

Police call Paso Robles murder "random act of violence"

Paso Robles police say the murder of a 46-year-old man at a Paso Robles laundromat Sunday night was completely random.

Officers say Martin McWilliams of Paso Robles was stabbed to death Sunday night at the laundromat on Spring Street. 28-year-old John Woody, of San Jose (pictured), was arrested Monday near a bank in Atascadero after people in the area said he was acting strangely.

Officers say the two men did not know each other. Police say this the first murder in Paso Robles in the last five years and it could have happened to anyone. A lot of people in the area depend on that laundromat, but the random crime is leaving people a bit uneasy.

Martin McWilliams lived just blocks away from the laundromat where he was stabbed to death Sunday night.

"That's our closest place to go to wash clothes and dry clothes because they don't have a laundry here," said Guadalupe Garcia, who lives near the scene of the alleged crime. "I was there one day before walking with my kids." She says McWilliams was her neighbor. "We would see him on Sundays walking with his dogs in the morning," Garcia said.

She says McWilliams lived with his wife Michelle and a young boy, who used to play with her son. As for the suspect, police say they don't know what Woody was doing in the area or why he attacked McWilliams.

"He's a little bit of a drifter or a transient and doesn't have a residence so to speak," said Lt. Ty Lewis, of the Paso Robles Police Department. Investigators say Woody does have a criminal background and may have suffered from past mental illness. Detectives are still searching for Woody's clothing and the knife, but they say they have crucial surveillance video. "The video will play a role in the trial and upcoming events," said Lt. Lewis.

Meantime, officers say patrols will continue as usual. "There's no indication that the public has to be at an increased heightened awareness or afraid," Lt. Lewis said.

The District Attorney's Office has filed a murder charge for John Woody. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

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