OKLAHOMA CITY – Nearly a month after a bookstore owner’s body was found inside his burning building, authorities say they have arrested a man for his murder.
Last month, firefighters responded to a fire at 30 Penn Books, located on the corner of N.W. 30th St. and N. Pennsylvania Ave.
“When our crews arrived, there was a significant amount of brown smoke coming from the structure,” said Oklahoma City Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Walker.
He said the store was likely closed at the time because every door was locked.
“We had to force entry to get inside the structure,” Walker said.
He said the fire was about 20 feet from the front door in the main part of the store.
“Once we started doing our salvage and overhaul, we did a secondary search, what we normally do,” Walker said. “It was at that time we found one deceased adult male.”
Authorities say the body of the store owner, 66-year-old Kelly Hays, was found under a pile of books inside the business. After further investigation, officials say Hays suffered trauma to his body before the fire was set.
While homicide investigators began looking into the death, arson officials say the fire was intentionally set.
On Monday, investigators released a photo of a man who was seen in the area just before the bookstore was set on fire.
“Investigators are kind of stuck right now, and they’re looking to help solve this case,” said Sgt. Megan Morgan, with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Now, officials say they have made an arrest in the case.
Authorities arrested 42-year-old Kenton Eugene Busby on one count of first-degree murder.
At this point, officials say they do not know of any connection Busby had to Hays or the bookstore.
However, they have confirmed that he is the man who was seen on the video that was released on Monday.