Man Arrested in Skidrow Bludgeoning Death NR11200pv

May 5, 2011

Los Angeles:  LAPD detectives arrested 52-year-old Marvin Harkins for the bludgeoning death of Raymond Sweet on April 15, 2011.

Sweet’s body was discovered in his apartment at the Volunteers of America center on Wall Street in Downtown LA.  The 47-year-old victim’s head had been crushed by a hammer, left behind at the scene.

Detectives followed several leads, including traveling to Kansas to interview Sweet’s ex-wife.

But ultimately the evidence pointed to Marvin Harkins, a local transient, as the probable suspect.  He had been the last known person to visit Sweet about three days before the body was discovered, which coincided with the approximate time of death.

Harkins was then questioned after officers picked him up on a misdemeanor warrant May 3rd.

“After interviewing Harkins, the detectives were convinced he was the man responsible for killing Mr. Sweet,” said Lt. Paul Vernon.  “The murder was apparently motivated by a dispute between the men.”

Detectives were able to confirm from evidence and statements that sometime after April 12, Harkins had been together with Sweet in his room. Harkins became upset with Sweet, and then left the room, only to return later with a hammer.

Harkins was booked for Murder and is being held without bail at the LAPD Metropolitan Jail.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Brian Putnam, Central Homicide Unit, at 213-972-1249.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.