A murder charge was filed Wednesday against the son of a former Fresno State and Fresno City College adjunct English professor for killing her in her central Fresno home last week.
Fresno police charged Winston Max Russell, 30, for the murder of his mother, Bethlyn Webster. The 52-year-old Webster was found by firefighters responding to a blaze at her Peralta Avenue home in central Fresno on May 29.
Fresno police believe Webster was stabbed to death before the fire, which was used to cover up the stabbing.
Fresno City firefighters went to the home in the 800 block of Peralta Avenue and found heavy smoke surrounding the home. Neighbors alerted firefighters that there could be a person inside and they soon discovered Webster’s body.
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After the fire was extinguished, arson investigators thought the fire was suspicious and also discovered Webster in the home with cuts on her body, said Lt. Fresno police Lt. David Madrigal.
“Based upon all the evidence, foul play was involved,” he said.
Madrigal said that Russell visited the home on a regular basis but didn’t live there. He was found in the area about the time of the fire.
“Somebody started the fire,” Madrigal said. “The fire definitely was not accidental and the woman had lacerations.”
If convicted, Russell could spend the rest of his life in prison. He will be arraigned on Thursday morning in Fresno County Superior Court.