A suspect has been arrested in Chicago, Illinois in the beating death of a pastor who had helped the man over the past several years as a volunteer in a church’s pantry.
Marvin Wells, 59, was charged with one felony count of first-degree murder, one felony count of home invasion, one felony count of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, one felony count of possessing a stolen vehicle, and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, according to WFLD-TV.
Chicago Police said Wells broke into Pastor Marisol Berrios’ apartment Saturday morning, allegedly beating her to death. He then took her purse and drove off in her sister’s car.
Berrios, 53, would often help Wells who did odd jobs on her block, giving him money and food, according to WFLD-TV.
“When I saw his face, my heart was broken because this is someone she fed and even given money to. Marisol would say, ‘Honey, I know they are addicts, they just need a chance, and they just need something to do,’” Berrios’ friend Leatisha Bailey told the outlet.
“How do you so heinously hurt somebody that was so compassionate and giving and selfless,” she said. “She would connect with ministries that would go all around the world and help people when disasters would happen.”
Prosecutors said Wells admitted to killing Berrios after learning she had just collected rent money for the landlord of her apartment, the outlet reported. Police officers later spotted him slumped over in the driver’s seat of the stolen vehicle where he had pulled over to rest.
In the resulting chase, he crashed the car. Prosecutors told The Chicago Sun-Times that blood was found on Wells’ jeans and shoes. He was ordered to be held without bail during his bond hearing.
The outlet reported Marisol Berrios had only been living in Chicago for the last four years after previously residing in Mexico and California.
In California, “She had a halfway house. She would cook for them and pray for them,” Raquel Berrios told The Sun-Times. “She helped immigrants, Hispanics, minorities, and the homeless and ran a food pantry from a church parking lot.”
Back in Chicago, Marisol stocked up on food and other goods in her home and donated them to the less fortunate.
“She never judged,” her sister told the outlet. “She would sit down with them and hold them and pray with them.”
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WLS-TV reported Marisol traveled the world to volunteer with many nonprofit organizations. The station also said it had a video of her volunteering her time at a Thanksgiving event in 2019.
Marisol was born in Puerto Rico started a church online during the pandemic, and preached through Zoom, according to The Sun-Times.
“She believed that God changed her and that she could do that for others. … She thought she could get through to people, and she did,” Raquel Berrios told the outlet.
The Berrios family has created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Marisol’s funeral. Titled “Honoring the Memory of a Compassionate Pastora,” as of Thursday the page had raised $6,090 of its $10,000 goal.