Buy Photo

Casey Christie / The Californian

Patrick Terrel has been charged with murder, robbery and arson in the killing of his mother’s friend. In this file photo, he stands next to his attorney.

The man accused of killing his mother's roommate and then setting their house on fire made his first court appearance Tuesday and spoke only to say he could not afford an attorney.

Patrick Edward Terrel, 37, is charged with crimes including murder, robbery and arson and is being held without bail. His arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed to Nov. 26.

Terrel is accused of killing 56-year-old Clara Basta on Sept. 7 at her residence in the 4200 block of Kilkenny Court in south Bakersfield, and then setting several small fires in the house. Basta was found bound in the garage with injuries to her face and a cord wrapped around her neck.

Police said in a search warrant that Terrel's mother, Victoria Terrel, was a longtime friend of Basta and the two lived together. The warrant states Terrel told his girlfriend he'd killed Basta and parked her white 2002 Dodge Intrepid outside an abandoned house.

The vehicle was found a quarter of a mile from Terrel's residence in the 200 block of Kincaid Street in east Bakersfield.

Terrel has been in custody since Sept. 9, when he was arrested on suspicion of a probation violation for possession of a controlled substance. His arrest on the murder and robbery charges came Friday at Lerdo Jail.

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.