Son of woman found dead in house fire is charged with murder

Police say 30-year-old Winston Russell stabbed Beth Webster to death

FRESNO, Calif. - A Fresno man is behind bars. Winston Russell is charged with the murder of his mother. Police say he stabbed 52-year-old Bethlyn Webster to death last Monday. Investigators believe Russell is also connected to the fire that started in his mother's home the same day. But it's what authorities found inside of the fire that's chilling.

Nine days since Beth Webster's home burned with her body inside of it, police are now saying foul play in Webster's death is confirmed and authorities now have a suspect in custody.

"A person of interest was developed and it happened to be the victim's son," said Lieutenant Dave Madrigal.

Police say 30-year-old Winston Russell stabbed Webster to death before the fire started.

"I can't fathom doing that, you know to your mother," said Deanna Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says she's known Webster since junior high but they lost touch after high school. Rodriguez says a 30-year high school reunion brought them together and this time they remained close.

"If someone ever asked me who's the kindest person that you know. The kindest person that I know was Beth Webster," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says she spoke to Webster a week before her death. Webster told her she was writing a book. Rodriguez remembers how much the arts and music meant to her friend. She says she can't imagine being in Webster's mind during her last moments of life.

"How could I myself, look in the eyes of my grown children and see what's unfolding? I mean, what was going on in her head?"

Russell will appear in court Thursday morning. If convicted of the murder charge and the allegation of using a knife in the crime, he faces life in prison.

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