Police arrested Sterling Bell in Clarkston's Milam Park in 2016 for having a loaded gun in a public park. At the time, they did not connect him to Roberts’ murder, though he was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
Bell's gun was taken into storage while he was in jail. He never returned to pick up the weapon.
Clarkson police recently went to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives to fire some 50 stored guns to see if any shell casings had the unique markings of casings found around crime scenes.
Police were able to link shell casings from Bell's gun to Roberts' murder. Bell was arrested Saturday.
“Most people would think it is petty crime, or a petty offense, but it led to the capture of a potential murderer," Clarkston police Sgt. Jason Elliot said.
According to federal documents, Bell has been treated by Veteran's Affairs and has a history of PTSD and homicidal and suicidal thoughts. He was charged with firing a gun in Pine Lake in 2015 and for shoplifting this year.
Hall is now out of jail on bond. The D.A.'s office says his case has been postponed indefinitely, but is still under investigation.