MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile County Sheriffs Deputies said they executed a search warrant at a home along Picardy street in Mobile in connection to a Semmes area double murder investigation.
Authorities arrested Gigada Pearson and charged him with two counts of murder, one count of arson and one count of aggravated stalking. Authorities tell Fox10 News Pearson is related to the victims who were were killed late Friday, June 21.
FOX10 was first on the scene as investigators removed a pickup truck from the Picardy street residence.
The double murder investigation began after deputies responded to a house fire on the corner of Meadow lane and Kings Branch Drive South, just outside the Semmes city limits.
Investigators said they found Erica and Stephen Lankford dead inside the residence with multiple injuries. Pearson is married to one of Erica Lankford's sisters.
Relatives of the victims tell FOX10 both had been stabbed and shot repeatedly.
"My aunt opened the door and they came in and did what they had to do. They stabbed and shot and then tried to burn the scene. That's all I was told," said Lankford's niece, Tesha Chambers.
Relatives said they want to remember the couple as the outgoing, generous, and family-oriented pair they have always known.
Family members are expected to pour in to Mobile to make final arrangements this week.
"I remember the family reunion we just had in Daphne where he was dancing with us; he was celebrating the love of family and just being with us," said Chambers via skype.
Investigators said Steve was found in a bedroom while his wife was found dead in the living room.
According to neighbors, the couple's teenage daughter, who was home from college, arrived at the residence late Friday night to discover the blaze.
Neighbors reported seeing a pickup truck at the residence shortly before hearing the gunfire.
Lt. Paul Burch of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office says they searched Pearson's home for evidence.
"A number of items of evidence was removed from the house. Those items are something that led us down the road we are on right now," said Burch.
Sheriff's Deputies also removed a Pick-up truck from the Pearson residence.
"The vehicle belonged to him. I know y'all talked with the neighbors and know what kind of truck we're looking for. It matched the description of what we originally put out," explained Burch.
Lt. Burch said the State Fire Marshalls Office and the District Attorney's Office helped in the investigation.
FOX10 News will continue to follow this story and bring you any new developments.
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