Arraignment today in Modesto couple's slaying

etracy@modbee.comAugust 19, 2013 

Modesto Regional fire fighters and city of Modesto police gather outside of a home on the 4,000 block of Divan Ct. in north Modesto where two people fell victim to a fire confined to the top floor of the home early Thursday morning (08-08-13).

ELIAS FUNEZ — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo

    Erin Tracy
    Title: Breaking news reporter
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, crime
    Bio: Erin Tracy started working for The Bee in September 2010. She has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University and previously worked at the Daily Democrat in Woodland and the Times-Standard in Eureka.
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— Two men arrested on suspicion of killing a Modesto couple are scheduled to be arraigned today in Stanislaus Superior Court.

Brandon Pettit, 25, of Modesto and Felix Valverde, 26, of Oakdale were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of murder, arson and conspiracy in connection with the deaths of Scott and Janet Pettit.

Their bodies were found by firefighters battling a blaze in the bedroom of their north Modesto home in the early morning hours of Aug. 8. Police announced the next day that their deaths were homicides but have not said how they died.

Investigators said Brandon Pettit was at work when the fire broke out at his parents' home. Modesto police spokesman Sgt. Ivan Valencia would not say Monday what role detectives believe either of the suspects played in the homicide or fire.

"There is information of both conspiring to commit the crime, and evidence linking them to it," Valencia said.

He said the involvement of additional suspects has not been ruled out.

Valencia did not know where Brandon Pettit was working the night of his parents' deaths. But he previously had worked for Ontel Security, according to the company's chief of security, David McCann.

McCann said Brandon Pettit worked as an armed security guard for six months until he resigned in mid-November. Pettit's security guard license, which expires at the end of this month, allows him to carry a firearm and baton.

McCann said he had no major issues with Pettit, only minor discipline for tardiness.

Valencia said Brandon Pettit and Valverde are friends, but he wouldn't elaborate. The Oakdale Leader newspaper reported that Valverde worked at the Sears Hometown Store in that city as a deliveryman.

Reached Monday, one of Valverde's sisters said she and her family did not want to comment on her brother's case.

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