Probe into death of ex-mayor changed to murder

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Associated Press

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 8:01 AM

EVARTS, Ky. (AP) — Police changed the investigation into the death of a former eastern Kentucky mayor whose body was found inside his burned home to murder after preliminary autopsy results indicated he died of a single gunshot wound.

No arrests have been made in the death of Ronnie King, 59, Kentucky State Police said Tuesday.

Police said earlier the fire was suspicious and foul play was suspected. King's body was found after the blaze was extinguished Monday at his home in Evarts, a Harlan County town close to the Virginia border.

King served the city of Evarts in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a city councilman and as mayor.

King's brother, Jerome King, who lives nearby, noticed smoke coming from his brother's home in the late morning. He said he ran over to check on things and found the house trashed and on fire.

He said no one in his family knew of any reason someone would want to hurt his brother. He said Ronnie King accomplished a lot during his time as mayor including getting the town a bridge, a water tower and a new fire station.

"He was the only one got anything done for this town," King said.

Dozens of people gathered at the scene of the blaze and mourned the loss.

"I'm surprised this happened," Pamela Griffith said. "He was a good person who helped anyone in need."

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