Tolleson man arrested for first degree murder

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Ernest Lee McAllum, 50 By Mike Gertzman Ernest Lee McAllum, 50 By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have arrested a Tolleson man for allegedly shooting and killing a woman inside her North Phoenix home.

Detectives took Ernest Lee McAllum, 50, into custody on Nov. 1, charging him with first degree murder. He's suspected in the death of Bethany Grace Lewin.

Two witnesses at the scene of the shooting near 70th Street and Thunderbird say McAllum came out of the victim's home, carrying an Uzi sub-machine-gun with a silencer. The witnesses also claim McAllum told them that he "popped her," which the witnesses took to mean that he had killed the woman inside.

Police say he then left the scene on a motorcycle.

Phoenix officers were called to the home to do a welfare check on the woman. When detectives arrived at the home, they found the victim in the master bathroom with a bullet wound to her head. She was  seated on the toilet with her pants down below her knees and her t-shirt was raised above her abdomen.

Officers also said they found some broken items and other signs of a struggle inside the home.

The witnesses positively identified the suspect through photographs and shortly afterward, McAllum was arrested at his Tolleson home.

McAllum has denied involvement in Lewin's death. But he was positively identified in a police line-up. Detectives also said they discovered blood spattered on his shoes. It's not clear yet whether it was the victim's blood.

McAllum is a repeat violent offender. He's due back in court on Nov. 8.