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Duo charged in fatal fire

LITTLETON – Two men with extensive arrest records now stand charged with first-degree murder.

During a 4 p.m. press conference held today (Wednesday) at the Roanoke-Wildwood Fire Department, the North Carolina SBI and Warren County District Attorney Mike Waters announced the arrest of Kevin Munn, age 30, and 34-year-old Lester Kearney for the home invasion and homicide of a minister’s wife. The woman’s husband was beaten, but survived the home invasion and subsequent fire.

The arrests came just one day after the couple’s car was located abandoned hundreds of miles away from their Warren County home in Haywood County, which borders Tennessee.

More charges are pending against Munn and Kearney, whose arrests records on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website date back to 2003. The majority of those crimes took place in Warren and Halifax counties, according to the website. One of Munn’s previous charges was for burning private property.

The case against the two men began to build after Rev. John Alford and his wife, Nancy, were the victims of a home invasion last Friday. The couple has lived in their Mulberry Court home on Lake Gaston for nearly 40 years.

Rev. Alford has served as pastor of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in Brodnax, Virginia for more than a decade. His wife taught Sunday school at the church.

One of the two men abducted Mrs. Alford and forced her to drive to an ATM in Roanoke Rapids to withdraw cash. Meanwhile, the other suspect remained at the home with Rev. Alford.

Upon the return of Mrs. Alford to the residence, both she and her husband, who was already badly beaten by one of the suspects, were tied up and their house was set on fire.

A report filed by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office showed that Rev. Alford managed to free himself, but was unable to save his wife who died in the blaze.

The two suspects stole the couple’s Mercedes. When that vehicle was found Tuesday in Haywood County, it too had been set on fire.