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Buddhist Monk Accused In Alabama Temple Killing

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The Rev. Chaiwat, the slain Buddhist leader, stands inside the new temple being built in Grand Bay, Ala., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. Credit: G.M. Andrews, The Press-Register / Landov
The Rev. Chaiwat, the slain Buddhist leader, stands inside the new temple being built in Grand Bay, Ala., Wednesday, May 5, 2010. Credit: G.M. Andrews, The Press-Register / Landov

A Buddhist monk has been charged with beating to death the head monk of his temple.

According to NBC-affiliate WTVA, Vern Phdsamay, 32, was arrested on Friday for the murder of 45-year-old Chaiwat Moleechate who was found dead in the temple kitchen. A large wooden stick used for food preparation was the murder weapon.

Sgt. Paul Burch from the Mobile County Sheriff's Office reported that the killing took place at the Wat Buddharaksa Temple, located in Southern Mobile County, Alabama, according to CBS-affiliate WAKA.

Temple's President, Visanou Kamphouy, told Fox 10 News that, ironically, Moleechate had been a pivotal factor in Phdsamay's journey to the U.S.

"He's the one to help him out, get paperwork, and go to immigration and have this temple be the sponsor," Kamphouy said.

According to a member of the temple, Phdsamay had remained locked in his room for months. He was not talking to anyone and had been placed under a doctor's care. The troubled monk was soon to be sent away from the temple for treatment.

The suspect was expected in court for a bond hearing Monday, May 14.

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