It took six months, a nearly $10,0000 award for information, and three law enforcement agencies, but authorities say they have arrested a man who they accuse of separately killing a homeless man and woman in separate shootings in January.
There is no sign of formal charges, but the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office – along with Miami-Dade and Miami police – released a statement saying Kenneth Allen Bent, 30, has been charged with two counts first-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Authorities made no connection between the arrest of Bent and the case of a stabbing on the Rickenbacker causeway last month. Police are asking for the public’s help in that case.
Bent is charged with killing Marie Noel, 60, and Bradley Griffith, 61. Both were homeless and living on the streets of Miami-Dade County.
“To some people, homeless individuals appear to be easy targets for attacks or abuse,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “In Miami-Dade County, this will never be tolerated.”
Police believe Bent chose Noel and Griffith at random. Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales credited detectives, prosecutors and public tips – there was a $9,500 award – for zeroing in on Bent as the alleged shooter.
“The homeless are a vulnerable population, and we hope this arrest brings closure to their families and loved ones,” Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez said.
Griffith was shot in the early morning hours of Jan. 9 near the corner of NW 22nd Ave in Miami. Noel was shot a few minutes later 15 blocks away at NW 17th Ave.
In May, police released a video of a man in a purple tie-dye shirt, camouflage shorts and black sneakers, telling the public it was the man responsible for the shootings.
The killings were reminiscent of the crimes attributed to Willie Maceo, a real estate agent charged in December 2021 with killing a homeless man asleep on the sidewalk in Wynwood and seriously injuring another in downtown Miami by shooting him in the head.
Following the January murders, Ron Book – chair of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust – said in a statement that there “is no more heinous crime than bringing harm to any of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
There remains a homicide of a homeless man still open.
Miami Police have not released any new information on the stabbing death of a homeless man Tyson Cash near the Rickenbacker Causeway on May 26.