New Castle man charged in February shooting death
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Police have charged a New Castle man with homicide in the Feb. 24 killing of a man whose body was discovered after an arson at the suspect's apartment the next day.
Deangelo Mercer, 22, was charged Wednesday with murder in the death of Arnold E. Miller, 46, whose body was found Feb. 25 in Mr. Mercer's second-floor apartment on Phillips Street following a fire.
The medical examiner's office determined Mr. Miller died of a gunshot wound to the head and two to the abdomen.
Police said the fire, which was confined to the room where the body was found, was deliberately set to cover the crime.
The motive was apparently a debt that Mr. Miller owed for rent, according to witness statements.
A witness said that on the day of the killing, she called Mr. Mercer to buy drugs but he didn't answer, so she went to his apartment to find him.
There, she said, she watched Mr. Mercer, with two other men present, hold a gun to Mr. Miller's head while Mr. Miller pleaded for his life, saying he would give Mr. Mercer what he wanted. She said she then watched Mr. Mercer shoot Mr. Miller multiple times in front of her and the other witnesses, all of whom fled to the house across the street.
There, she said, she watched Mr. Mercer wash the blood from his hands and leave. The other two males who were in the apartment, one of whom also had a gun, also washed their hands and left with Mr. Mercer, according to the affidavit.
Another witness said the body lay on the floor all day as people came and went, but that everyone thought it was someone else who was asleep.
The next morning, firefighters and police responded to the blaze and found the body.
First Published June 7, 2012 12:00 am