Arrest Made in Choir Member's Slaying

Victim's family say they know man arrested in her death

By Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011  |  Updated 12:32 AM CDT
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Shearl Bennett's family say they know the man accused in her fatal stabbing.

Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News

Shearl Bennett's family say they know the man accused in her fatal stabbing.

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Police have arrested a man in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Dallas woman outside her home last week.

Shearl Bennett was attacked outside of her condo on Wednesday in the 9800 block of Royal Lane at about 10 p.m. after she returned home from choir practice and Bible study at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.

Investigators charged 27-year-old William Langrum with capital murder after evidence recovered at the scene of a later aggravated robbery linked him to her death, police said.

Bennett's family members said they know Langrum but do not think he knew Bennett.

"Oh my God... It just saddens me," said Dawanna Hurd, Bennett's cousin.

Louise Hurd, Bennett's cousin, said her family has known Langrum since he was child. She said Langrum, who her family called "PJ," played with her nephews.

"They played basketball every day, in our neighborhood and in our church," she said.

Langrum and Jeremy Francis, 18, were arrested in an aggravated robbery about an hour after Bennett's death.

Police said Langrum and Francis robbed a man at knifepoint at an apartment complex in the 2800 block of Douglas Avenue.

Both men are charged with aggravated robbery in that case.

Police said investigators found evidence at the robbery at the apartment complex that directly connects Langrum to Bennett's death.

Investigators have not said if there a link between Francis and the Bennett case or revealed a motive in Bennett's slaying.

Relatives of Bennett said they suspect drug abuse could be a factor but said it doesn't explain the violence.

William Langrum"I would just like to ask him, 'Why? Why did you have to kill her? Why didn't you just take what you wanted?'" Louise Hurd said.

She said Langrum took part of the family.

"That's the only thing you can see, is just them attacking her, and she's calling out for help, knowing that nobody was there to help here," Hurd said.

Francis has not been charged in Bennett's death.

NBC 5's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.


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