JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Fire and Rescue responded to a residential fire at an apartment in the 1100 block of Steele Court April 15 and found the resident inside deceased.
The fire was later ruled an arson and the death of 53-year-old local church deacon Andrew Stephens was investigated as a homicide by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, according to Assistant Chief Chris Butler.
Stephens was allegedly beaten, stabbed and shot before his home was lit on fire, Butler detailed.
Investigators determined a young couple had recently moved into the victim's apartment who were identified as 25-year-old Keshia Qwenay Love and Darrius Lerone Jones, 33. Love and Jones allegedly beat, stabbed, shot and robbed Stephens of his wallet and car. The pair later went to a Walgreens and attempted to use a credit card belonging to Stephens, but it was declined. According to Butler, the couple returned to the Steele Court apartment and set it on fire.
Love is charged with murder, giving false verification of ownership of pawned items, dealing in stolen property, grand theft and burglary. Love is being held without bond.Love and Jones were picked-up May 21 on unrelated charges in Jacksonville Beach. According to Butler, Love confessed to the crime and implicated Jones.
Jones is facing charges of arson, murder, armed robbery, burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon.Jones is also being held without bond.
Police say a couple beat, stabbed and fatally shot Andrew Stephens---then set his apartment on fire to cover their crime. Ken Amaro, First Coast News