Clay County authorities on Friday charged a 24-year-old St. Louis man in the death of a pastor whose body was found last month outside a Liberty apartment.
Malcolm L. Bentley was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 49-year-old Darron Washington. Bentley also was charged with first-degree arson and armed criminal action in the Feb. 10 slaying.
Authorities said Bentley had been staying in Washington’s apartment since Feb. 8. Washington mentored young men in his community.
Investigators found Washington’s body outside the building in the 200 block of Wilshire Boulevard after firefighters extinguished a fire in his apartment that authorities said was set intentionally.
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Washington’s red 2013 Ford Fusion was taken from the apartment complex and later found in west St. Louis.
Washington, who worked for Ford more than 28 years, had transferred from St. Louis to the Claycomo plant. He drove every weekend to St. Louis, where he served as senior pastor of New St. Louis Park Baptist Church.
Bentley was arrested Feb. 22 in St. Louis on an unrelated parole violation. Since then, he has been in custody at the St. Louis City Justice Center, awaiting extradition to Clay County on the murder charge. Bond was set at $1 million.
According to court records, Washington was shot twice in the back of his head while he was sleeping. His body was found outside the building, wrapped in bedding.