KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City man has been charged with killing his roommate and then setting the house on fire to conceal the evidence.
Police on Friday arrested 30-year-old David N. Smith on charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 29-year-old Brandon Stevens, who was house-sitting for the home's owner.
Officials believe the shooting was prompted by a dispute over money.
The Kansas City Star reported on its Web site that a forensic dentist positively identified Stevens' remains, and an X-ray at the medical examiner's office showed what appeared to be a bullet in Stevens' neck.
Smith was arrested in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday with a sport utility vehicle owned by the victim, whose body was found early Friday by firefighters who responded to a house fire in Kansas City's Waldo area.
According to court records, a man inside the house was awoken early Friday by the sound of loud banging. He said he saw Smith and another man pushing Stevens into the house, then they took him upstairs and a single gunshot rang out.
The man said that after the other two men came back downstairs, the three smoked marijuana and tried to hook a trailer owned by Stevens up to an SUV.Smith allegedly then poured gasoline throughout the house and onto a white sweater to start the fire.
After they couldn't get the trailer hooked up, the three men took Stevens' SUV to a pancake restaurant in Kansas City, Kan., before going to the home of Smith's mother, according to court records.
Smith fell asleep, and the man who is accused of helping with the shooting walked home, records say, while the third man left the house and called police.
The house where Stevens was shot was filled with flames when firefighters arrived around 5:30 a.m. Friday. They found the victim's burned body in one of the rooms and contacted police.
Friends of Stevens said he was a brick mason who worked with his brother in the construction industry.