Former Temple doctor murdered, home torched

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - November 1, 2009

Firefighters found the body on the second floor after breaking into the "the heavily secured structure" about 3 a.m. because neighbors said the occupant might be inside, said Edwin Holmes, a New Orleans Fire Department spokesman.

He had been stabbed, police said.

Coroner's investigator John Gagliano identified the victim as Ralph Newsome. He was 45 years old and taught plastic surgery at Tulane University's School of Medicine, university spokesman Keith Brannon said.

Investigators found flammable liquid, probably gasoline, that may have been used to start and spread the flames, Holmes said.

The university said Newsome earned his medical degree from the University of South Alabama and completed a residency in general surgery there, then served a plastic surgery residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

He joined Tulane's medical faculty in 1998. Among his specialties were reconstructive surgery, complex wounds, skin cancer and melanoma, according to a statement from the university.

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