BCPD: Robbery led to murder, assault, arson

posted by WOOD Radio News - 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A neighbor says he happened to be outside when he witnessed the fire and attack a Battle Creek man is accused of, in addition to murder.

“I was just on my way taking out the trash and then next thing you know, I just look over and I see the house is just on fire,” Robert Dickinson said Wednesday.  “And then I hear screaming.  I see the woman getting beat.”

Detective Sgt. Todd Elliott with the Battle Creek Police Department says a medical crew was passing by around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when they saw smoke rising from the home on N. Washington Avenue near Parkway Drive. They rescued the woman, but couldn’t reach a 64-year-old man inside the burning house.

Investigators say an autopsy will determine if the man was dead before the fire started.  Police say it’s possible a hammer was used as a murder weapon.

“So, at this point, that’s the weapon that we’re looking for,” said Elliott.  “As of yet, we haven’t found it.  However, with a fire-damaged house, you’re digging through a lot of rubble and if it’s still there, it can be very difficult to find.”

Elliott says it was an apparent robbery, and the two victims and the suspect somehow knew one another.

Dickinson says it looked as though the man assaulting the woman was trying to drag her into the burning house.

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