Police: 3 arrested in Denver bar killings, fire

  • Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier, right, talks about the arrest of three suspects in the murder of five people and a fire at a Denver bar during a news conference at Denver Police Headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Police Chief Robert White listens at left. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier, right, talks about the arrest of three suspects in the murder of five people and a fire at a Denver bar during a news conference at Denver Police Headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Police Chief Robert White listens at left. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Denver Police Detective Randy Denison, right, takes a statement from Scott Christiansen at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four women were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early in the morning. Police think the blaze was set to cover up the slayings. Christiansen says he was a regular customer at the bar. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)Denver Police Detective Randy Denison, right, takes a statement from Scott Christiansen at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four women were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early in the morning. Police think the blaze was set to cover up the slayings. Christiansen says he was a regular customer at the bar. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Police are pictured at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four woman were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)Police are pictured at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four woman were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • A police officer removes equipment at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four woman were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early Wednesday morning. Police think the blaze was set to cover up their slayings. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)A police officer removes equipment at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, where the bodies of a man and four woman were discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at the bar early Wednesday morning. Police think the blaze was set to cover up their slayings. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

DENVER (AP) — Three people have been arrested in connection with the killing of five people at a bar that was then set on fire, apparently to hide the crime, and the motive was robbery, Denver police said Thursday.

Police Cmdr. Ronald Saunier said the suspects went to Fero's Bar & Grill to rob it before closing time Wednesday, but he didn’t go into details about how it turned into a murder case.

“It appears that the motive of this crime was robbery, that they came in there — I don’t want to say that it was a robbery gone bad, but it wound up being a robbery. The arson was set to try to cover up the crime scene,” he said.

An officer on routine patrol around 2 a.m. Wednesday noticed a fire at the bar. Inside, firefighters found the bodies of one man and four women, including 63-year-old Young Fero, the bar owner. Investigators think the fire had been burning for about 15 to 20 minutes before the officer spotted it.

Joseph Hill, 27; his brother, Lynell Hill, 24; and Dexter Lewis, 22, were all arrested in Denver starting late Wednesday night, police said.

Investigators were led to the trio because of some tips that came in after a news conference that afternoon. Detectives also had help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service’s fugitive unit. Cmdr. Saunier said he believes the suspects had been to the bar before.

The Denver medical examiner identified the other victims as Daria M. Pohl, 22; Kellene Fallon, 45; Ross Richter, 29; and Tereasa Beesley, 45. Ms. Pohl, Ms. Fallon and Ms. Beesley were from Denver. Mr. Richter’s hometown wasn’t released.

The medical examiner didn’t release the cause of death. Police haven’t said how they died and wouldn’t discuss whether any weapons were found.

The suspects are being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery and arson.

The bar is in a strip mall about five miles south of downtown Denver, just beyond the upscale Cherry Creek North shopping district. It is wedged among a check-cashing store, a tennis shop, a nail salon and a car repair business on busy Colorado Boulevard.

Police said the fire did extensive damage, but little of that was visible from the outside.

The bar attracted both regulars and people staying in nearby hotels, but neighbors said it didn’t seem busy most days.

Frequent patron Chris Brady said the bar’s customers ranged from “semihomeless-looking people” to patrons in suits and ties.

He was at the bar for a regular poker game held Tuesdays and left at about 11 p.m.

“There was nobody random or crazy in there,” Mr. Brady said.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks