Police: West Virginia woman claims killing was ‘God’s plan’

Published 11:45 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

BECKLEY, W. Va. — A 19-year-old woman arrested in connection with the killing of a West Virginia pastor said she did so in obedience to the words of God.

Camille Brown was arrested late Saturday night near the home of Ronald Browning, the 68-year-old pastor of Cool Ridge Community Church in Beckley, after police say she broke into another house in nearby Mabscott, West Virginia. Brown was found covered in blood, urine and feces, according to a criminal complaint which also stated that she “appeared to be paranoid.” The owners of the house, a husband and wife, informed police officers they did not know their visitor, who forced her way inside.

The Beckley (W. Va.) Register-Herald obtained details of Brown’s confession, released Tuesday in a criminal complaint filed in the case. In it, Brown admitted to killing Browning and leaving his body in a pool of blood before fleeing to the Mabscott home, where she was arrested.

“I didn’t even know (Browning),” Brown said in the complaint. “I was just following God’s plan.”

Physical evidence shows Browning died from blunt force trauma to the neck and head. Investigators said Browning was attacked Saturday evening in his home in Beckley.

Brown is charged with first-degree murder in Browning’s death.

At a news conference Monday, Beckley Police Detective Morgan Bragg said evidence was found on Brown proving she was inside Browning’s home Saturday before the homicide. But, he added, the attack on Browning appeared to be “random.” The case, he said, is “disturbing, because we don’t have a motive.”

Despite an “overwhelming” amount of evidence in Browning’s home linking Brown to the killing, police have been unable to determine why Brown chose to carry out the act seemingly at random.

Bragg evaded several questions about Brown’s mental status Monday, saying only that the West Virginia Police Academy offers courses for officers to handle people with mental illness.

Within the next two weeks, Brown will have a preliminary hearing where a determination will be made if enough evidence exists to send the case to a grand jury.

The Beckley (W. Va.) Register-Herald contributed to this story.