A moped shop owner killed in Sacramento this week knew the man accused in his death, police, friends and family of the victim said Saturday.
Dan Aiello, 53, was found dead in his Midtown Moped shop at 13th and X streets early Wednesday. Aiello also worked as a freelance journalist covering environmental issues for several Bay Area publications and had survived a life-threatening bout with AIDS five years ago.
He had recovered his health and was enthused about his startup business renting out mopeds, friends said. But Aiello recently had argued with a personal and business acquaintance and expressed fears for his safety, they said.
On Wednesday, Sacramento police officers arrested Kyle Fletcher, 35, on suspicion of murder, robbery and burglary. Sabrina Ahrens-Gravelle, 39, was arrested on suspicion of burglary. Both were stopped by police after they were seen loading items in a vehicle parked in front of the moped shop at 3:20 a.m. Wednesday.
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Officers had responded to a call about crashing sounds coming from the building. They found Aiello’s body inside the store, which was also his residence. Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead.
Police have not disclosed the manner of Aiello’s death, but they confirmed that Aiello and Fletcher knew each other.
Aiello’s mother, Beverly Aiello of San Jose, said her son had been intending to bring Fletcher into the moped business before their relationship soured.
“He knew the man they arrested,” she said. “They were trying to do work together with the bike shop. They they had a falling-out. He was somebody Dan was going to hire to help out.”
A longtime friend, Megan Juring, said Dan Aiello had texted her in February saying there was a person who owed him money and whom he felt threatened by – though he didn’t say the man’s name.
“He referenced locking his doors and windows and being afraid for his life,” Juring said.
Another friend, Jerry Sloan, said Aiello had a penchant for helping people, even if it sometimes caused him trouble.
“Dan was a very compassionate person,” Sloan said.
Fletcher has an extensive history of criminal and traffic charges in Sacramento County going back to 1998, though many were eventually dismissed.
He was sentenced to three years in state prison in 2005 after pleading no contest to felony charges of domestic violence and possessing an illegal drug, such as methamphetamine or cocaine, while also being armed with a loaded gun, online court records show.
A Facebook page for Fletcher identifies him as a tattoo artist in Sacramento and has photographs of him showing distinctive facial and neck tattoos also seen in his booking photo. One of the shops where the Facebook page says he worked, Classic Tattoo Club of Sacramento, posted this note on its own Facebook page a day after Aiello was killed:
“There has recently been an arrest that we were made aware of with an ex-employee today,” it said. “We hope this is not true about them but also ask not to be associated with this.”
Juring said that after battling AIDS, it was tragic that Aiello’s life would end in violence.
“My dear friend fought very, very hard to stay alive in 2010 and fought through many challenges in order to give his life meaning,” she said. “He built that business in the past year as a testament to that purpose. He was very excited. He was moving forward and in no way expected to cut that short.”
Call The Bee’s Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.