Wife of suspect filed rape report against slain pastor


Lake Charles shooting: Woodrow Karey: Woodrow Karey, 53, is charged with shooting Pastor Ronald J. Harris Sr. Friday evening as he was preaching in Lake Charles, La.The wife of a Louisiana man charged with killing a preacher had filed a rape complaint against the pastor two days before the shooting, but it’s not yet clear if there was an assault or a consensual sexual relationship, a sheriff said Monday.

Woodrow Karey is charged with fatally shooting 53-year-old Ronald Harris Sr. during a revival service Friday at the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center in Lake Charles.

Related: Daughter: Slain La. pastor would forgive his killer

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday that Harris and the suspect’s wife had exchanged text messages before she filed the rape complaint.

The sheriff’s department says Karey found the messages on his wife’s cellphone on Sept. 21, a few days before she filed the complaint and less than a week before the shooting.

It’s not clear if there was a consensual relationship or not, and that will be a focus of the investigation, Mancuso said.

“We’re trying to put all the pieces together,” Mancuso said.

The sheriff declined to release a copy of the rape complaint, saying it’s part of the ongoing investigation.

Mancuso said search warrants for phone records and other evidence may help paint a better picture of what led to the pastor’s death.

Mancuso said Karey was cooperative earlier in the investigation but is no longer talking. The name of his attorney was not immediately available.

Karey was scheduled to appear by video from jail for a court hearing Tuesday morning to determine if he can afford to hire his own lawyer or if one should be appointed to him.

Mancuso planned to talk to Karey’s wife.

The suspect’s wife did not immediately respond to a message at her place of employment on Monday. Calls to the couple’s home rang unanswered on Monday.

The pastor’s relatives and church members say the 53-year-old suspect was once a member of the church but left several years ago without explanation.

Wendy Bernard, a church secretary and Harris family friend, was with the pastor’s family Monday morning and said Karey had never shown signs of hostility, “none at all.”  Read from source

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