Two Northridge college students were charged Thursday in the murder of a Pacoima pastor who police believe was killed in a quarrel over a minor traffic accident.
Authorities said Dana L. Singer, 18, a business major at Cal State Northridge, and Philip J. Dimenno, 19, who has been accepted at UC Santa Barbara on a scholarship, were charged Thursday in the murder of Carl White, 54, pastor of the Apostolic Temple Church, whose body was found Sunday in his Chatsworth home.
Police arrested the pair Tuesday after an employee of a tire company on Reseda Boulevard called detectives when the two allegedly tried to use White's credit card to buy wheels and tires.
"I detained them by telling them I had to get the rims from the warehouse," said the clerk, who asked not to be identified. "I told them I'd call the warehouse but I really called the police."
Police said Dimenno's car, which was being driven by an unidentified female friend, was involved in a minor accident late Friday in Chatsworth with White's car.
Dimenno and White exchanged information but did not report the accident to police because the damage was minor, Detective Michael Brandt said.
Dimenno told police he later became concerned that the pastor might give his driver's license number to police, and that he would be arrested on an outstanding traffic citation, Deputy Dist. Atty. Leland B. Harris said.
Dimenno and Singer, a friend who was not in the car when the accident happened, went to White's Chatsworth house about 6 a.m. Saturday to demand the license number back, Harris said, adding that Dimenno took along a 9-millimeter pistol.
During the confrontation, White reportedly asked the two to pay for a rental car and car repairs, said Dimenno's attorney, Harold Greenberg. But the two balked at paying for a rental car, the lawyer said.
During the argument, Singer "panicked" and fired a shot, Greenberg said. The bullet struck White in the back of the head, Harris said. Dimenno, who was leaving the house, did not see the shooting, Greenberg said.
Singer and Dimenno appeared in San Fernando Municipal Court on Thursday for arraignment, which was postponed to Aug. 13. Bail was set at $20,000 each.