By Richard Weizel
MILFORD, Conn. (Reuters) - Connecticut police have arrested five people in connection with the murder of their housemate, who investigators said was shot and then blown to bits by a pipe bomb on July 4 in the suburbs of New Haven.
Christopher Miller, 40, was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, criminal use of a firearm, and federal explosives' violations in the killing of Edward Brooks, 39, authorities said on Tuesday.
Four other people were also arrested in recent days on lesser charges, ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to drugs violations, the officials said.
All five lived in the same house with the victim in the city of West Haven, just outside New Haven and about 40 miles south of the capital Hartford, and had been the target of an ongoing narcotics investigation, according to officials. The motive for the killing was not immediately clear.
Brooks "was shot in a house in West Haven and then taken to a rural area in Hamden (where) he was literally blown up with an explosive device," U.S. State’s Attorney Deirdre Daly said.
Brooks' bullet-ridden body was found in a park wrapped in plastic bags and bound by rope shortly after police responded to a call on July 4 about an explosion, federal officials said. Police found fragments of steel pipe, caps and other explosives' material near the body.
The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and trauma to the neck, head and torso, according to the chief state's medical examiner's office.
Others arrested included Maurice Wearing, 26, the grandson of a former New Haven Police Chief, on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence in the case; Miller's mother Deborah Miller, 59; Nataili Martinez, 29; and James Bryant, 64, on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics, officials said.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Bernard Orr)