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Last updated: Mon. Aug. 13, 2012 - 03:03 pm EDT

Allen homicide victim is ID'd

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A northeast Allen County man who was found dead in his home Saturday has been identified.

Gregory A. Funich, 42, died of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to a written statement issued Monday by the Allen County Coroner's Office.

His death was ruled a homicide, the 23rd of 2012 in Fort Wayne and Allen County.

An Auburn man has been arrested and charged in connection with the death, according to the Allen County Sheriff's Department.

Michael R. Alexander, 33, faces a preliminary charge of aggravated battery. He was being held without bail Sunday night at the Allen County Jail.

Funich – well-known in his neighborhood for Christmas light displays – was found dead in his house in Oak Crossing, a housing addition north of Fort Wayne.

A friend discovered the body, and medics and sheriff's deputies were dispatched to 5315 Lonesome Oak Court, near Tonkel and East Dupont roads, about 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

While investigating the death, Allen County detectives learned that IPFW police had arrested Alexander on Friday on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and resisting law enforcement.

It turned out that Alexander had been driving the victim's vehicle, the sheriff's department said.

On Sunday, residents of the Oak Crossing addition expressed shock.

"You don't expect someone to be killed in your neighborhood, especially across the street," Ashley Esther, 32, said. "It's a great neighborhood. So we're hoping it's just an anomaly."

The worst crime in recent years in the addition that she could recall was a garage break-in.

Esther said she would exchange greetings with Funich and once went to a party at his house. She said he often had friends over but that the gatherings were small and not loud.

Other neighbors remembered Funich as friendly, helpful and possessing a passion for decorating during holidays.

Describing his Christmas light display, one neighbor said, "You could see it from the satellite."

Funich had lived there since the late 1990s, and he had two dogs. "They meant the world to him," another neighbor said.

Archie Ingersoll of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.

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