Police arrest 2 in connection to March murder in Long Beach

Long Beach police arrested two men on Friday that they say are responsible for the March death of a 54-year-old man.

The Long Beach Fire Department initially responded to reports of a structure fire on the 5300 block of Pine Avenue around 6:30 a.m. on March 13. Firefighters found the body of a man inside the home while knocking down the fire, though the cause of death was initially undetermined.

The man was identified as 54-year-old Long Beach resident Willie Smith. His death was later ruled a homicide, though police didn’t share how he was killed.

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Investigators later identified the suspects as Preston Jabari Prince, a 31-year-old resident of Long Beach and Kevin Anthony Leslie Jr, a 27-year-old resident of Los Angeles. It wasn’t revealed how they were identified.

The two men were arrested Friday — both on suspicion of one count of murder. Prince was also booked for an alleged parole violation and he’s being held without bail. Leslie is being held on $2 million bail.

The motive remains under investigation, police said. Evidence will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office next week.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact Homicide Detectives Michael Hutchinson or Lisette Temblador 562-570-7244.

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