Man charged with homicide after bodies found in charred home

June 06, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

GERRARDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Two bodies were found inside a home off Sam Mason Road in southern Berkeley County, W.Va., on Sunday morning as firefighters brought a fire under control, Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster said.

The West Virginia Medical Examiner's office will perform autopsies today to confirm the identities of the victims -- one adult and one child -- and establish their causes of death, Lemaster said.

The sheriff said information gathered through an investigation led authorities to obtain an arrest warrant charging 34-year-old Antonio Prophet with homicide.

Prophet, whose address was unknown, should be considered dangerous, he said.

"Evidence at the scene indicated homicide," Lemaster said.

At 4:37 a.m., emergency dispatchers sent the sheriff's department to 39 Sidney's Way.

Firefighters from the Back Creek, South Berkeley and Baker Heights departments from West Virginia, and the Clear Brook department from Virginia also were dispatched to the scene.


Lemaster said as the fire was being brought under control, officials were told there were residents whose whereabouts were unknown.

The bodies were discovered as soon as it was safe to enter what remained of the structure, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, family members of the victims gathered on the short road that serves only a few houses. Police tape hung limp on a gated entrance to the burned, two-story home and a house under construction.

Lemaster said that anyone with information about the case should call Lt. Gary Harmison at 304-267-7000; Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 304-267-4999; or the West Virginia Fire Marshal's office at 800-233-FIRE.

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