A Portland man was arrested Monday and charged with murder in the death of 61-year-old Clarence James Pearson of Westbrook last month.

Deng Malual Courtesy Cumberland County Jail

Portland police arrested 36-year-old Deng Malual around 2:30 p.m. on Portland Street in the city’s Bayside neighborhood, Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Monday night.

Malual was taken into custody without incident and brought to the Cumberland County Jail. A date and time for his initial court appearance had not yet been scheduled.

Pearson was found dead at an apartment at 79 Mechanic St. in Westbrook after a 911 call around 1:38 a.m. on Nov. 28. Investigators determined the death was suspicious. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy the next day, ruled the death a homicide and confirmed the victim was Pearson.

His cause of death has not been released.

Christina Hill told the Press Herald last week that she met Pearson 12 years ago through her brother, and didn’t understand why anyone would want to hurt him. She said Pearson was always there for her family when they needed help.


Hill said Pearson was addicted to alcohol and drugs and she fears that his death may be linked to substance use. She said he was also recently struggling with depression and memory loss and was frustrated about his rising rent.

Westbrook police, Portland police and the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit conducted an investigation that led to Malual’s arrest, Moss said.

Malual has a lengthy criminal history record dating back more than a decade, according to records provided by the State Bureau of Identification Office. Most of the crimes were committed in Portland.

Over the years, Malual has pleaded guilty to a broad range of crimes including obstructing government administration, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, theft by unauthorized taking, criminal threatening, and assault. He served jail time for the offenses, but never longer than a few months.

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