Elderly woman robbed, murdered and set on fire; teen charged with crime

Nathaniel Roberson Jr.

By Monica Land

CLARKSDALE – Authorities said a 17-year-old has been charged with robbery and capital murder after an elderly woman was found dead and on fire inside her Clarksdale home Saturday afternoon.

Nathaniel Roberson Jr.

Captain Robbie Linley said Nathaniel Roberson Jr. is being held without bond for the murder of 80-year-old Ethel W. Lewis. Lewis was robbed, murdered and then set on fire.

Linley, of the Clarksdale Police Department, said officers responded to a robbery with injuries call at Lewis’ residence in the 100 block of Issaquena Street.

When they arrived on the scene and entered her home, Linley said Lewis’ body was still on fire, and her 2002 white Toyota Avalon was gone.

The Clarksdale Fire Department was also on the scene and said the fire was contained to Lewis’ bedroom and did not spread throughout the home.

Linley said they were tipped off that a crime had been committed at the residence and that the suspect would allegedly be heading to Ruleville in Lewis’ car.

Linley said that the CPD immediately communicated with the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP), Sunflower County Sheriff’s Department and other surrounding law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the vehicle, the Clarksdale Press Register reported.

The car was soon spotted by the MHP heading towards Ruleville, but the occupants of the vehicle – allegedly four black males – fled on foot into the woods of north Sunflower County before the vehicle could be stopped.

All four were later apprehended at a home in Sunflower County by the Sunflower County Sheriff’s Department, the Clarksdale Press Register reported.

Linley said Tuesday that Roberson had been formally charged with the heinous crime.

The other three occupants of the car were questioned and detained, but not charged.

Autopsy results on Lewis are pending to determine her cause of death.

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