Police Make Arrest in Fatal University Dorm Fire

Police arrested a man Sunday in connection with a dormitory fire that killed an 18-year-old student, found a week ago with stab wounds in her burning room at Western Kentucky University (search).

Lucas Goodrum, 21, of Scottsville was charged with murder in the death of freshman Katie Autry (search), university Police Chief Bob Deane said Sunday.

"We made the arrest based on information we received during the course of our investigation," Deane said.

He said Goodrum was not a student at the university, but he refused to comment on any other details, including what Goodrum's relationship to Autry may have been and what led to his arrest.

Goodrum was being held Sunday on $1 million cash bond. Bob Edwards, vice president of university affairs, said more charges were expected to be filed, including arson.

A man who answered the telephone at Goodrum's father's home in Scottsville wouldn't comment Sunday.

The arrest came a week after firefighters pulled Autry from a fire in her second-floor dorm room around 4 a.m. Along with third-degree burns, she had puncture wounds and abrasions to her face and neck, authorities said. She died four days later.

"I hope that they have the right person," Autry's aunt, Virginia White, said Sunday. "We still won't be satisfied until this person gets what's coming to them."

No other students were injured in the May 4 fire, which was confined to Autry's room. Her roommate was away at the time, and only about 50 of the 310 residents were in the building.

"As the investigation continues, we'll learn how he got into Katie's room," said university President Gary Ransdell. "We don't know at this point what took place behind the locked doors."

Western Kentucky's campus police department has said little about the investigation, which it has led.

Throughout the week, more than 100 students were interviewed, including members of a campus fraternity, where friends said Autry had attended a party the night before the fire.

Justin Perkins, president of the fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha (search), said he didn't know Goodrum. "I never was worried that it was a member of our fraternity," he said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the home of Autry's foster parents said the family would have no comment.

News of the arrest spread quickly across the campus of 16,000 students, about 110 miles south of Louisville.

"I'm glad they made an arrest," said Natalya Bourn, a senior from Danville, Ill., as she moved her belongings into a residence hall for the summer. "It makes me feel more comfortable but not totally safe."

Ransdell said policies related to the school's residence halls would be reviewed. "We believe the residence halls are safe, but we will question everything," he said.

Final exams at Western Kentucky began a day after the fire, and the school's commencement ceremony was held Saturday. Officials at the ceremony called for a moment of silence to remember Autry and the university's other students and faculty who had died in the past year.

Friends and family members planned a memorial service for Autry on Sunday in Pellville, her hometown.