Bakersfield police have arrested a 37-year-old Bakersfield man on suspicion of murder, arson and other offenses in connection with a Sept. 7 homicide in south Bakersfield in which a woman's body was found in a house that had been set on fire.
Patrick Terrel is accused of killing 56-year-old Clara Basta, who police identified Friday as a longtime friend of his mother, Victoria Terrel.
The two women lived together in a house in the 4200 block of Kilkenny Court in Bakersfield.
Terrel had been identified in search warrants as the "victim's girlfriend's son." The warrant states that Terrel told his girlfriend on the morning of Sept. 7 that he'd killed Basta and parked her 2002 white Dodge Intrepid outside an abandoned house.
Basta was found dead after firefighters responded to her home for a report of smoke coming from the house. Several small fires had been set in the house.
The search warrant states Basta was found bound in the garage with injuries to her face and a cord wrapped around her neck.
Investigators found the vehicle a quarter of a mile from Terrel's residence. Terrel has been in custody since Sept. 9, when he was arrested on suspicion of a probation violation for possession of a controlled substance, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office inmate website.
Terrel never lived at the home where Basta was found dead, police said in a news release.
Police said detectives' interviews coupled with analysis of physical evidence gave them probable cause to arrest Terrel for Basta's murder.
On Friday afternoon, BPD Sgt. Joe Grubbs said that so far Terrel has not cooperated with the investigation and has not given police a statement.
The sheriff's website said Terrel is also being held on suspicion of burglary and theft of a vehicle.
Terrel has previously been convicted of crimes including burglary, hit and run resulting in property damage and unlawful sexual intercourse, according to Kern County Superior Court records.
In 2011, he was sentenced to three years probation and to serve one year in jail for possession of a controlled substance.