Couple arrested for murder of man who was found burning in a fire pit

COLUMBUS, OHIO- A duo evading state and federal authorities were apprehended on Thursday, accused of a gruesome murder involving a man found burning in a fire pit earlier this summer. The incident occurred in the early hours of July 8, when a passerby spotted an unusual fire in a wooded area near South High Street in Columbus, Ohio’s Hungarian Village neighborhood and alerted the police.

On August 20, the Franklin County Municipal Court issued arrest warrants for Miranda King, 24, and Robert Beine, 42. The charges included murder and gross abuse of a corpse, relating to the killing of William Hamblin, 43, and subsequent attempts to conceal the violent act. Court records indicate that the accused allegedly bludgeoned Hamblin with a blunt object before shooting him.

Investigative efforts revealed an ongoing dispute between Hamblin, Beine, and King, Beine’s girlfriend, over stolen property. Witnesses reported observing a heated argument between the three on July 6, 2023, during which Beine threatened Hamblin’s life, with King egging him on.

The conflict seemed to have subsided, but two days later, surveillance footage captured King and Beine near the location where Hamblin’s charred body was later found. The footage also showed a third unidentified person who was with them. Shortly after their appearance in the footage, a fire was visible in the video, according to the Columbus Police Department (CPD). Firefighters responding to a call around 1:30 a.m. extinguished the fire and discovered the body, which was declared dead at the scene.

According to a criminal complaint against King, Hamblin’s body was burned in a fire pit in a failed attempt to destroy evidence of the murder. After evading capture for nearly three weeks, the suspects didn’t manage to get far. Local police spotted King and Beine in south Columbus early Thursday morning, leading to a chase.

The U.S. Marshals Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team reported that the suspects were found at a gas station near the intersection of Lockbourne Road and Frebis Avenue. Despite an attempted escape, they were eventually caught by CPD patrol units. Following their arrest, both King and Beine were taken to Franklin County Jail to await their initial court appearances.

As of Friday afternoon, King remained in custody. She made her first court appearance on Friday morning, where her bail was set at $2.5 million. She is scheduled to appear in court again on September 15. Beine’s name, however, does not appear on the current inmate roster for the same jail, and his first court appearance is set for September 9.