Suspect Went To Rob His Elderly Neighbor. When She Was Dead, He Lit Her Home On Fire, Police Say

fire death
Source: Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office; MEGA

Aug. 21 2022, Published 4:50 p.m. ET

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An 86-year-old woman was found dead in a house fire, and police said they arrested the man who lit the blaze after trying to rob the victim.

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Last week, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina announced the arrest of Shelton Romone Brown, 31.

On Aug. 8, deputies responded to a home and saw smoke and fire coming from the residence, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Neighbors told responders that the homeowner was possibly still inside. Crews forced their way in and found the homeowner dead. She was identified as Victoria Essie Benekin, 86.

Investigators determined the blaze was intentionally set.

Elderly Victim

Authorities identified Brown as the person who set the fire, according to the sheriff’s office.

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The motive for the murder was a robbery, and police said Brown tried to rob the victim and then a struggle started, according to the sheriff’s office. Brown lived near the victim.

He has now been charged with murder, first-degree arson and several other counts.

“I hope the community will be able to rest easier knowing that the suspect will be held accountable. My prayers remain with the family of the victim as they deal with this tragic and unnecessary loss,” said Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis.


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