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A Philadelphia man is accused of murdering his stepfather because he had a gay guest in their “house of God,” according to prosecutors.
Christian A. Smith, 23, is accused of killing 43-year-old Dennis McKenzie at their Gloucester County residence over the weekend. He was charged with first-degree murder, and an additional charge of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, officials said.
On Oct. 23, Woolwich Township Police were dispatched to a property on Cottonwood Road after a 911 emergency call. McKenzie was found deceased at the scene. He had died from multiple gunshots to his head and back. Medical examiners concluded homicide was the manner of death.
A nine millimeter Glock pistol was recovered by investigators.
While a motive wasn’t immediately disclosed, however, prosecutors allege the murder was fueled by Smith's bias in regards to an LGTBQ house guest at the family’s home.
“He made it known to his stepfather that he did not approve of that person coming into their house,” Anton explained. “This argument that proceeded the murder, it started over an act of bias and an act of bias intimidation where he is using a slur about somebody’s sexual orientation."
According to NJ.com, Smith had been staying at the temporarily. During a family celebration at the home, a relative brought an unnamed guest; Smith used a slur to describe the guest and a fight ensued.
Smith’s public defender, Katherine Constantine Blinn, questioned the forensic evidence in the case, and whether the murder charge against her client was warranted.
“Exactly how this occurred and the specific manner of death needs to be fleshed out a little bit more with the forensics,” Blinn said, according PennLive.com.
She was adamant the shooting was accidental.
“He took the gun out from behind him, reached over [his mother] and fired three times,” prosecutors said. “You can’t accidentally shoot somebody three times.”
While in police custody, Smith initially refused to speak with case detectives. He later claimed the shooting was an accident. No further information was released by law enforcement.
Oxygen.com was unable to immediately reach Blinn for comment regarding the case on Monday afternoon.
Smith is expected to appear in court on Dec. 2 for a pre-indictment hearing, MLive.com reported.
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