Roommate Arrested After Pastor Found Dead Inside Home

The pastor moved into the apartment only a few weeks before his slaying, family members say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An arrest has been made in the slaying of a South Los Angeles pastor who was found dead in his home Sunday night. Beverly White reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from South LA Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

    A 67-year-old pastor found dead inside his South Los Angeles home was identified Tuesday, and his roommate was arrested in connection with his death, officials said.

    The victim’s granddaughter found Earnest Dewitt Brannon’s body in the back bedroom of the home in the 1100 block of West 98th Street (map), just west of Vermont Avenue, Sunday night.

    The house appeared to be ransacked and Brannon may have been in a fight with the attacker, according to deputies. The Los Angeles County Coroner listed Brannon's cause of death as asphyxiation, and investigators said he might have been strangled.

    Brannon's roommate, Toriano Benford, 43, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

    Benford was booked on suspicion of murder and held in lieu of $1 million bail.

    The relative who found Brannon said the 67-year-old moved into the apartment a few weeks before he died. Brannons' granddaughter told NBC4 her grandfather was well-liked and did not have any enemies.

    "My grandfather didn't hate (anybody)," Chalona Bell said before Benford's arrest. "He did not have one enemy, and then you take his life? I hope you turn yourself in. That's not right."

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