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West Virginia Woman Charged In Murder of Pastor Remembered for Comforting People in Times of Grief

( [email protected] ) Feb 10, 2015 11:50 PM EST
Police in West Virginia have arrested a woman in regards to a murder of an elderly pastor, which happened over the weekend.
Southern Regional Jail

Police in West Virginia have arrested a woman in regards to a murder of an elderly pastor, which happened over the weekend.

According to Kara Van Pelt of Reuters, police said that 68-year-old Ronald Browning of Beckley, W. Va., died from blunt force trauma to his head and neck. They have arrested 19-year-old Camille Browne on suspicion of murder as well as breaking and entering.

"The most disturbing factor in this case is the fact Browne and Browning did not know one another and her motive has yet to be determined," Beckley police Detective Morgan Bragg said.

Reuters reported that according to police, Browne confessed to killing Browning, who was a pastor at Cool Ridge Community Church. A criminal complaint noted that she was found at a nearby residence on Sunday, a day after the killing, covered in blood, urine and feces.

Bragg later told Reuters that Browne had been in Browning's home, based on evidence. The police detective also said that she had cuts on her hands.

Lindsay Oliver of WVVA reported that Browning's body was discovered by his wife outside his home on Saturday. On that same day, police arrested Brown on separate breaking and entering charges.

"According to court documents, Brown later confessed to officers that she killed a man with gray hair earlier in the day," Oliver wrote. "She told police it happened near her home on Westwood Drive, which runs parallel to the street where Browning was found dead."

Bragg noted that police were able to find the supposed murder weapon.

"Through processing the scene and other events that occurred through the night, we've identified a suspect in this case," Bragg said. "At this time, we don't know of any connection between the suspect and the victim. By all indications, this appears to have been a random event perpetuated by the suspect. They are in custody on other unrelated charges."

Oliver reported that Browning also worked as a chaplain and volunteer at Raleigh General Hospital. Debbie Peyton, Director of Volunteers at Raleigh General Hospital, expressed her condolences on his passing.

"I was devastated, in disbelief. But it happened," Peyton said. "I didn't want to believe it. He had a way of knowing if you were feeling bad and always tried to make you feel better."

Thomas McMillion talked to WVVA about the legacy Browning left. In addition to being a pastor and volunteer, he stated that Browning used to be a troop leader for the Boy Scouts.

"He was just a great person," McMillion said. "He never done nobody wrong, he'd give you the shirt off his back. To hear of such things that's happened, it's a little bit scary."

Peyton told Chris Lawrence of MetroNews that Browning was a constant presence at the hospital, working the information desk and greeting people at the front door.

"He was just here all the time," Peyton said. "He was one of the nicest men honestly that you'd ever meet and this has been horrible for all of us."

Peyton added that Browning had an uncanny ability to comfort people dealing with immense grief. According to Lawrence, Browning had a few life tragedies of his own; he lost his daughter to cancer, his son a year later, and soon afterward his first wife.

"Ron went through so much tragedy in his own life," Peyton said. "Now, when it seemed like he was starting to heal from that, this happened and you just don't understand it."

Tags : West Virginia, West Virginia pastor murder, West Virginia murder, Ronald Browning, Cool Ridge Community Church, Raleigh General Hospital, Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, Camille Browne, pastor legacy