Local News in Brief : Suspect Held in Double Canoga Park Killing

The roommate of two people who were found beaten to death in a Canoga Park home last month has been charged with their murders, authorities said Tuesday.

Mark Demand, 25, is in a Las Vegas jail on a charge of robbery, and it was unknown Tuesday when he would be transferred to Los Angeles, officials said.

Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Diamond said Demand is charged in the deaths of Robert Ray Burley, 26, and Lori Elm, 18, whose bodies were found Jan. 26 in the home the three shared in the 7500 block of Kentland Avenue. The victims had been dead at least a week when found.

Police believe the murders were drug-related because one of the victims, Burley, was suspected of being a dealer. Police found two pythons, one of them 13 feet long and both possibly used to guard drugs, in the house where the victims were killed.

Authorities allege that Demand killed the couple, stole an undisclosed amount of drugs from the home and fled to Las Vegas where he was arrested on suspicion of stealing a woman's purse.

Diamond said that, because the Los Angeles case involves a double murder, Demand has been charged with murder with special circumstances, meaning he could face the death penalty.

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