Bail review for pastor accused in killing man for his life insurance postponed

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Bail review for pastor accused in killing postponed

A bail review hearing for a Baltimore pastor accused of paying a hit man to execute a blind and disabled man was postponed for undisclosed medical reasons.

The hearing had been scheduled to take place Monday afternoon.
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– Source / Full Story: Bail review for pastor accused in killing postponed, Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, Apr. 27, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

City pastor charged with having man killed for life insurance

A Baltimore pastor who worked with developmentally disabled people was charged Friday with befriending a blind and disabled man in his care, then paying a hit man $50,000 in church funds for an execution so he could collect life insurance money.

Police say Kevin Jerome Pushia, 32, who worked for four months as an operations manager for the Arc of Baltimore before abruptly quitting in January, confessed to plotting to kill Lemuel Wallace.

CBS Report

Pushia told police he persuaded Wallace and “numerous” other mentally challenged individuals to list him as a beneficiary on insurance policies.

A terse notation in Pushia’s planning calendar for Feb. 5, the day after Wallace was found dead in a Leakin Park bathroom stall from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and back, reads: “L.W. project completed,” police said.

Pushia was in custody while police look for other possible victims and examine whether Pushia had been plotting similar killings, said Maj. Terrence McLarney, commander of the city homicide unit. “We have a lot of work left to do,” McLarney said, adding that the case remains open.
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Taken to the homicide unit, Pushia asked for an attorney, then admitted to the scheme, Ross wrote. Pushia said he had taken out as many as six insurance policies in Wallace’s name, worth nearly $1 million combined, and said he had policies on others.
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According to his Web site, Pushia served on the youth ministry for the Maryland Baptist Convention in the late 1990s. He said he received a bachelor’s degree from Coppin State College in 2001 and a master’s degree from Trinity College and Seminary in 2003 and was pursuing a doctorate.

He wrote that he “fasted and prayed, [and] God lead him in the order of purchasing real estate” to start the Church of Deliverance in the 2600 block of McElderry St., a transaction that he noted was paid in full. The storefront church underwent extensive renovations after settlement in 2003, and it opened for worship on April 3, 2005.

– Source / Full Story: City pastor charged with having man killed for life insurance, Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, Apr. 24, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Second man faces charges in shooting

A second man was arrested and charged with murder Saturday in connection with what police said was a life insurance collection scheme that led to the shooting death of a developmentally disabled and blind man.

Baltimore police, in conjunction with South Carolina law enforcement officials, arrested James Omar Clea III, 31, of the 2800 block of Bookert Drive in Cherry Hill about 3 p.m. at a hotel in Orangeburg, S.C. Clea, who was charged with first-degree murder, is suspected of being involved in hiring a hit man to kill Lemuel Wallace, who was last seen alive Feb. 4, according to police.

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police are investigating Clea’s involvement in the killing, as it is unclear who fired the bullet that killed Wallace.

“He was definitely involved in obtaining a hit man for this murder,” Guglielmi said.
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Clea claims on his MySpace page to be a licensed preacher, and is listed as an elder with the Sounds of Praise Pentecostal Fellowship Ministries on its Web site.
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– Source / Full Story: Second man faces charges in shooting, Tyeesha Dixon, Baltimore Sun, Apr. 27, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

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This post was last updated: Apr. 28, 2009