Arrest Made in Fatal Fire, Arson

Purvis, Miss.

Police in Purvis have made an arrest in the death of Claudette Ezell, the mother of a Philadelphia pastor.

WDAM-TV reports that Timothy Taylor, 36, of Purvis, was denied bond Tuesday by Judge Bill Anderson and charged with first degree arson and murder.

The station reports Taylor was arrested at his residence in Purvis around midnight, just a few hours after the Monday evening fire. Initially, investigators thought the fire might have started as a result of exploding oxygen tanks inside the house.

But the investigation led to Taylor, who authorities say was no stranger to the victim. Officials say the charges against Taylor could be upgraded to include capital murder, depending on the outcome of the investigation and the decisions of a grand jury.

Ezell is the mother of Dean Speed, pastor of Philadelphia Church of God.