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Memorial planned for homeless man

October 17, 2008|Bob Pool | Times Staff Writer

A memorial service for the 55-year-old homeless man who was set on fire and burned to death last week on a Mid-Wilshire-area sidewalk has been set, family members said Thursday.

The service for John Robert McGraham will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church's Westminster Chapel, 3300 Wilshire Blvd.

McGraham, a well-known figure in a densely populated, diverse neighborhood west of downtown, was attacked the evening of Oct. 9 near 3rd and Berendo streets. Neighbors rushed to save him, but he was too badly burned to survive.

Los Angeles police are investigating the killing, but no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, City Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge plan to announce a reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the killer or killers at 3 p.m. today at the Parker Center police headquarters.

Police officials and members of McGraham's family are scheduled to attend.

Sister Susanne McGraham-Paisley said a memorial fund in her brother's memory has been established.

Contributions may be made to "Heal the Homeless" at any Washington Mutual branch or via the Internet's Pay Pal service through healthehomeless@ gmail.com, she said. All donations will be distributed to agencies organized to help the homeless, McGraham-Paisley said.

John McGraham, a former Ambassador Hotel employee who suffered from depression, had spurned repeated efforts by relatives to find him treatment and get him off the streets, family members said.

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bob.pool@latimes.com

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