Authorities in Texas arrested a man suspected of killing a minister whose badly burned body was found in his home following a fire believed to be intentionally set.
Police in Beaumont recently obtained a murder warrant for Channin Keon Ardoin, 39, in connection with the Oct. 7 homicide of Jason West, a 41-year-old associate minister at House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church.
Following the fire, an officer spotted Ardoin in the victim’s stolen Hyundai Sonata in Huntington, a town almost 100 miles from the crime scene, police said.
Ardoin allegedly crashed the vehicle and managed to flee on foot, according to officials.
Detectives located Ardoin and took him into custody around 1 a.m. on Oct. 25. He was being held on $1 million bond.
Rev. David Pouncy recalled hearing the news his church colleague’s body was found after the fire.
“I jumped up and left; that's when I saw what happened I couldn't believe that happened,” Pouncy told KBMT. “How could you hurt him? How could you do such a thing? That let me know how this world could be so cruel."
The victim was remembered as a gentle giant who cared for the church’s older congregants.
"It used to always tickle me because he wouldn't let any of the elderly leave unless he helped them down the steps or walk them to their car at night for Wednesday night prayer meeting,” Pouncy recalled. “I thought that was so nice of him to take that position.”
“He's a big miss,” the reverend added.