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Vigil planned for victims of Lake Gaston kidnapping, fatal fire

LITTLETON, N.C. (WNCN) - The Lake Gaston community will light candles and leave porch lights on Friday in memory of neighbors kidnapped, beaten, and burned in a deadly home invasion.

Friends, neighbors, and others who mourn after the murder of Nancy Alford will gather at 5 p.m. at the former Lake House on Lizard Creek Road in Littleton.

Much of the talk around town Thursday was relief following the capture of two suspects facing charges connected to Alford's death and the beating of her husband, John, who is hospitalized in a burn unit.

Lester Henry Kearney spent Wednesday night in the Vance County Detention Center. Roanoke Rapids Police caught him earlier in the day. State troopers arrested his accused accomplice, Kevin Munn, on Tuesday.

Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams said Kearney and Munn broke into the Alfords home on March 9 to steal unspecified items. Investigators said one of the men forced the 76-year-old woman to drive him to an ATM where he made her withdraw about $1,000. The other stayed with her 82-year-old husband in their home. When the kidnapper and Nancy Alford returned to the house, the two burglars tied up the couple before setting fire to the house and stealing a car.

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John Alford was able to escape his restraints but he could not get his wife free before the flames became too unbearable. He suffered severe burns, and Sheriff Williams said he had to personally subdue Alford and prevent him from going back into the house.

Criminal records show Kearney spent several years in prison following convictions for kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and vehicle theft. Halifax County deputies arrested him in 2011 following a deadly home invasion in Roanoke Rapids.

The Halifax County District Attorney did not respond to a request for information about why prosecutors dropped murder charges against Kearney in that case.

Munn's criminal history includes convictions for breaking and entering, larceny, and burning personal property. Now he and Kearney are charged with murder in the deadly home invasion in Littleton.

Friday's vigil is titled "Light up the night: Push back the darkness." Organizers encourage attendees to bring candles, flashlights, and tokens of love such as flowers to leave for the Alfords. They are also asking homeowners to turn on their porch lights as a symbol of solidarity.


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