SAN JOSE -- Police say the death Tuesday of a man whose body was burned in a fire near the onramp for southbound Highway 85 at Cottle Road was a homicide, and two men have been arrested in the case.
Police on Thursday arrested Steven Burns and Christopher James, both 25, in connection with the man's death, according Officer Albert Morales, a police spokesman. Burns was arrested on suspicion of murder and James was booked on a charge of felony accessory, Morales said.
The man's death is the 12th homicide of the year.
Police say the man who was badly burned had been stabbed at least once and was set on fire. Police are not releasing his identity until the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office notifies his family.
Firefighters responded to reports of a small fire on Tuesday at 9:15 p.m. near the onramp to Highway 85 and Cottle Road in South San Jose. Once the blaze was extinguished, the burned body of an man was discovered. Because of the condition of the body, the Santa Clara County Coroner was called in.
The California Highway Patrol had jurisdiction and first investigated the incident. It was first thought the death was possibly an accident after personal possessions and litter were found in the area, indicating a homeless encampment.
Police say a follow-up investigation revealed that the victim had been stabbed at least once by Burns.
Police don't have a motive for the killing, but investigators believe an altercation occurred between Burns and the victim.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Andrew Binder or Detective Liz Checke of the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at 408-277-5283. Anonymous tipsters can call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867), or go to http://svcrimestoppers.org/, and be eligible for a reward.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez.