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No bond for Gardens man accused of killing wife

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Posted at 10:20 AM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 18:54:59-04

A judge has denied bond for a Palm Beach Gardens man who is charged with first-degree murder of his wife.

David Arthur, 50, made his first appearance in court Wednesday morning.

Palm Beach Gardens police announced his arrest yesterday.

Kathleen Dunleavy's body was found after an early-morning fire at a home on 40th Terrace North on Tuesday, April 12.

Authorities say following an extensive investigation, it was discovered that she was brutally beaten. Investigators say they found a belt tied around the victim's neck, she had lacerations to her head.

Police also found gasoline near the body. They believe Arthur set the laundry room on fire to hide the evidence.

"The body was wrapped up in sheets and pillows, said Major Dominic Pape, with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. "The body was placed into the laundry room, eventually an accelerent was placed upon her."

At a news conference this afternoon, police revealed a possible motive in Kathleen's death.

"They were having verbal disagreements over money and drugs," said Pape. "At some point in time she tells him to leave, subsequent to that more arguments, he does leave at one time, he comes back more arguments that leads to a physical altercation."

Police retrieved text messages he sent to his stepson and old high school girlfriend. He indicated he was in big trouble and was either going to prison or would be put to death.

Arthur told his stepson he had been thrown out the house and relapsed.  In the text Arthur said he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

At the tax office in Lantana, where Kathleen worked, her desk sits empty. Coworkers still stunned.

"It's very hard to come to work and see her stuff," said Tabatha Mazzeo, a close friend of Kathleen's. "I feel her. I know she's here."

Friends say she was like a mom to them.

"Whenever somebody was sick, she would give you medicine, said Danielle Bernas, a friend and co-worker. "Whe bought me wipes for my eyeglasses and baby lotion. She was our mother."

Now friends say they feel an emptiness that can never be filled.

Friends say Arthur is a recovering alcoholic and that he lost his job three months ago as a boat mechanic in the midwest.

Kathleen leaves behind a son.