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Husband, 76, of woman who was found dead after Northwest D.C. fire is charged with arson

The 76-year-old husband of a woman who was found dead after a fire in Northwest Washington in February was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson, according to D.C. police.

Robert Proctor of Northwest could make his first appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday. The couple’s son, Michael Baker, said he would be in court for the proceeding. He declined to comment further, other than to say his parents had problems.

D.C. police did not say how 80-year-old Lucille Proctor died or how the Feb. 13 fire was started in her three-story rowhouse in the 4600 block of Fourth Street NW. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the fire, which broke out about 5:50 a.m.

The couple had been a fixture in their neighborhood across from Rock Creek Cemetery for more than 40 years and were active at New Southern Rock Baptist Church. A neighbor previously said Robert Proctor had invited him and his wife to have dinner on the night of Feb. 13. He also said he saw Proctor walking around the neighborhood that morning as his home burned.

Robert Proctor had worked pressing clothes at Brooks Brothers; his wife had worked for a cleaning company. They had three children, more than a half-dozen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Their church pastor, who knew the couple for 25 years, said that Lucille Proctor had stopped coming regularly to church, because of illness, and that her husband also had slowed because of his deteriorating health.

An application for a search warrant filed in D.C. Superior Court says that Proctor’s body was found in an upstairs bedroom, on the floor next to the bed. A knife was found on the floor at the foot of the bed, but the document says there were “no obvious signs of blood.”

Police also said in the warrant that neighbors reported calling police repeatedly because of “family disturbances.” The morning of the fire, the warrant says, a neighbor told police of “hearing noises of moving furniture in the middle of last night.”

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