Allegheny County homicide detectives arrested a man Wednesday in connection with the beating death of a McKees Rocks activist known for pushing peace in his community.
Sean Overton, 19, of Moon was arrested around 11 a.m. in his mother's residence in the Moon Crest housing complex in the slaying of Isaiah Dent, 61.
Police said they were led to Mr. Overton by tracing calls made from Mr. Dent's cell phone after his body was found Monday in his Hays Manor apartment, according to a criminal complaint filed by detectives.
A friend of Mr. Overton's and now a witness in the case told police Mr. Overton called him and said he killed Mr. Dent because the 61-year-old had robbed him of marijuana, the complaint stated.
Allegheny County police spokesman Lt. Andrew Schurman could not be reached Wednesday to discuss a motive in the attack.
The victim's sister, Carrol Dent of Youngstown, Ohio, said she knew her brother smoked marijuana, but robbery was not in his character.
Mr. Dent's friend, Barbara Owens, said she knew nothing about Mr. Overton's allegations, but didn't believe him.
"I can't even imagine that," she said.
Mr. Dent was a tailor, artist and cosmetologist as well as a community activist. Members of the community said his presence was felt in the MLK Day Cotillion last week, which he helped plan with the group Breaking Silence: Ending Youth Violence. He also organized Hays Community Day for families last year at the apartment complex where he was killed.
Mr. Dent's family couldn't reach him over the weekend and called 911 on Monday asking police to check on him. Officers arrived at the apartment around 8:50 a.m. and found Mr. Dent lying on the bathroom floor with puncture wounds to his face and blunt force trauma to his head, which an autopsy later ruled as his cause of death.
The victim's keys and a small amount of marijuana were found on him. Mr. Dent's cell phone was the only item that appeared to be stolen from the residence.
Detectives learned that a call was made from the phone at 2:31 p.m. Monday, hours after his body was discovered. Police located the person who was called by Mr. Dent's cell phone and learned it was a friend of Mr. Overton's. The person said Mr. Overton called first at 11:30 a.m. and again at 2:31 p.m. Monday.
In the first call the witness was sleeping, so Mr. Overton made it brief by saying he would call back later and explained that he had settled some "unfinished business" with Mr. Dent, the complaint stated.
An hour later the witness received another call from Mr. Overton, who said he killed him because Mr. Dent robbed him of marijuana, the complaint said. Mr. Overton also said Mr. Dent didn't pay him the full amount of money he owed for a marijuana purchase.
Mr. Overton remained in the Allegheny County Jail on Wednesday evening awaiting arraignment on charges of criminal homicide, robbery and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
Taryn Luna: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1985. First Published January 30, 2013 9:00 PM