Carole Jane Sturgis was the kind of neighbor you would want, a quiet 79-year-old widow who cared for neighbors' pets when they were away and walked down the street each day to feed stray cats.
Moses Stanley Trotter was a different sort, a troubled 32-year-old would-be rapper and former 99 Cent store clerk with a criminal record dating back at least 13 years.
On Sunday evening, their worlds collided violently in a peaceful Fair Oaks neighborhood where Sturgis had lived without incident for decades.
Sacramento County sheriff's officials say Trotter wandered into the neighborhood near Sunrise Boulevard and Sunset Avenue and broke into at least one other home before entering Sturgis' three-bedroom home on Olympic Way and killing her in an attack so violent it left blood all over the house and Trotter.
"There's no apparent connection between the two, nothing to indicate that they knew each other," sheriff's Deputy Jason Ramos said Monday.
Sheriff's officials would not release the cause of death for Sturgis, who was ailing and used an oxygen tank, other than to say her home displayed signs of a struggle and blood. Trotter, who was arrested as he emerged naked from her home, also was covered in blood.
A woman who answered a phone number registered to Trotter's mother said the family is confused and distraught over his arrest on a murder charge.
"This wasn't him," said the woman, who spoke only briefly and hung up without giving her name. "It's the demon inside of him.
"This is really hard on us right now. We don't understand what happened."
Court records show Trotter has an arrest record going back at least to 1999, and that he faced charges including burglary, driving under the influence and domestic violence.
In April 2011, he was involved in a public disturbance that violated his probation and resisted arrest until officers used a Taser to subdue him, court records indicate. He also was found to have a shotgun in his possession in violation of his probation.
A February 2010 arrest came after he reportedly stole a "bait car" the Sacramento Police Department was tracking to deter auto thefts, and resulted in Trotter being examined three times by a psychiatric specialist. Trotter was admitted for at least some period of time to the Sacramento County jail's "acute psychiatric unit," records indicate.
Monday evening, he was again in county jail. Sheriff's officials declined a Bee request for an interview, saying Trotter could have no visitors until he underwent a psychiatric evaluation.
Residents of the neighborhood who came into contact with Trotter before Sturgis was killed described bizarre behavior.
Margo Verenberg was working in the front yard of her home on Olympic Way with her husband when Trotter approached sweaty, shirtless and holding a couple of CDs in his hand.
He asked for water and her husband got him a bottle from their garage.
"My husband told him to leave and he asked, 'Will you guys pray for me?' as he walked away," she said.
From there Trotter apparently walked over to Durland Way, where he entered a home through an open garage door.
The homeowner said he heard water running in the bathroom and found Trotter shirtless and "with his pants at half-mast."
The homeowner, who asked not to be named, added that he did not feel threatened by Trotter, and sheriff's officials say he simply led the intruder out of his home by the arm and called authorities.
Trotter apparently went to Sturgis' home next.
Neighbors described the elderly mother of two as someone who would hardly have been a match for an intruder.
Sturgis lived alone, with occasional help from a caregiver. "She was quite ill and used an oxygen tank," said neighbor Ian McLean, 85, who had known Sturgis for nearly 40 years. "She slowed down in the last few years, and it was getting more and more difficult for her."
Sturgis devoted her time to caring for stray cats in the area, making daily walks with a bag of cat food to feed them and regularly taking them to a nearby veterinary clinic. Since 2003, she had brought in 10 cats for spays, neuters and vaccines, according to the Sunset Animal Medical Clinic.
Trotter's presence in the area may have stemmed from a chance decision to attend services Sunday morning at New Life Community Church, less than a mile from Sturgis' home.
Pastor Dean Deguara said Trotter showed up for the first time Sunday.
"Apparently, Mr. Trotter attended our services yesterday as a first-time visitor," Degaura wrote in an email. "We have no other information other than he is not a member or regular attendee of New Life Community Church."
Trotter's Facebook page shows him sitting in a pew in the church with his arms around the shoulders of two older women. Neither of the women was Sturgis, Deputy Ramos said.
The contrasting postings on his Facebook account left even authorities musing about Trotter. "It's kind of a Jekyll and Hyde picture you get from looking at that page," Ramos said.
Portions of his Facebook account show a doting father posing with two young girls who are apparently his daughters and whom he refers to as "real Barbies." He bills himself as CEO, producer and artist at Ghetto Street Productions, and claims to have an album called "Street Soldier."
He lists Disney as one of his "likes" and muses online with friends about which day is the Sabbath.
But other parts reflect a darker part of his life, with one comment he posted Sunday declaring, "I need health care."
Two of his Facebook friends also posted radically different reactions to the photo of him in church.
"You are either sitting in a Court Room (which is normal) or in Church (which would definately explain the drastic change in the weather) God Bless You Mose," one wrote.
"Mose stop callin or texting me!!!" the other friend wrote in a comment posted at 2:14 p.m. "Im so over you and your (BS)!!! You need god cuz ur crazy.. leave me alone leave my family alone... keep my mans name out ur mouth!!! My kids dont need you so see you in court again "