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Spotsylvania man charged after someone found dead in burned house

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A Spotsylvania County man has been charged with murder and arson as the result of a fire last week during which a man was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

John Christopher Brown, 37, is also charged with grand larceny of an auto. He was arrested Wednesday and is being held in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

Sheriff’s Maj. Troy Skebo said the fire occurred July 29 about 1:49 p.m. in the 7500 block of Grand Brooks Road in Spotsylvania. Authorities said the home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, and the victim was later found in the kitchen area.

The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond, where it was determined that the victim had been shot prior to the home being set on fire. Skebo said police believe they know who the victim is, but are not releasing his name until he is positively identified.

Brown lives near the torched residence and is an acquaintance of the man believed to be the victim, Skebo said.

A vehicle registered to the suspected victim was found the same day of the fire on Greenes Corner Road in Louisa County. It too had been set on fire and had been in a crash.

According to affidavits for search warrants filed in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, detectives learned that the gas stove in the kitchen appeared to have been purposely left on and the oven door had been left open.

During the investigation, one of the affidavits states, police found a witness who reported that he picked up Brown from the crash scene and drove him to a variety store before taking him to a home in the 7600 block of Grand Brooks Road. Surveillance footage confirmed that Brown and the witness were together at the store, but a woman at the residence where Brown was allegedly dropped off denied that Brown was there.

Police obtained a search warrant for the home and Skebo said Brown barricaded himself inside for a short time before running outside in an attempt to escape. He was apprehended and taken into custody without further incident.

Skebo said detectives are still trying to determine the reason for the homicide. A court date for Brown, who was already wanted on alleged probation violations, had not been scheduled as of Thursday.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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