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Florida Pastor Stabbed to Death by Man He Let Stay at Church Building, Police Say

Antwane Lenoir
Screengrab via Local 10

A Florida man has been taken into custody following the death of Pastor Antwane Lenoir of Westview Baptist Church in Miami. 

Lenoir, referred to by those who knew him as Pastor A.D., was found dead at his church on Saturday (April 6). The cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the neck. 

The following day, police took 44-year-old James Dawkins into custody. He has been charged with first degree murder. 

Dawkins had reportedly been temporarily staying at the church building with Lenoir’s permission. However, a disagreement broke out between the two men when Lenoir decided to end the arrangement and contacted a locksmith to change several locks at the church.

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The two got into a verbal argument while the locksmith was at the church. Then Dawkins, without provocation, stabbed Lenoir several times before fleeing the scene, according to police.

When police arrived at the church around 5:30 p.m., they found Lenoir in the church parking lot. He was declared dead at the scene. 

Dawkins had been an attender of the church and played keyboard for the worship team. When police questioned him, they said that he offered “self-serving” testimony and “was determined not to be consistent with the evidence obtained throughout the course of the investigation.”

Those who knew Lenoir described him as a selfless leader. 

“He was a very nice man, and he would give you the shirt off his back,” Lenoir’s cousin, Yovonka Bryant, told WSVN. “He was so generous and so kind to a lot of people.”

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“It’s crazy that you can be helping someone and they end up turning on you,” Bryant added. Speaking of Dawkins, she said, “I hope that he someday has peace in his heart and he comes to the realization of what he took away from us.”