Two arrested in Bath Murder investigation

Published 10:57 pm Friday, October 15, 2010

By Staff
Staff Reports
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two Belhaven residents in connection with a murder in Bath.
Arturo Lopez-Perez, age 16, of O’Neal Hill Drive, Belhaven, and Martel Deval Weston, age 22, of Pamlico Street, Belhaven, have been charged with murder in the death of Leonard Alfred Willson III of Bath.
At at 12:40 p.m. Oct. 7, the sheriff’s office received a report of a deceased male at 115 S. Main St., Bath, reads a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Deputies responded to the scene and located the body of Willson, age 53, of that address.
The sheriff’s office secured the property and began an investigation.
During a search of the crime scene, investigators determined that the death was a homicide. Willson was a paraplegic and had lived in Bath for approximately 15 years. He could be frequently seen cycling in and around Bath on his recumbent handcycle.
Preliminary results from the autopsy indicate that Willson’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
As investigators worked multiple leads, Beaufort County Crime Stoppers received a tip indicating a possible suspect.
Investigators identified the suspect as Lopez-Perez and set up surveillance on his residence.
On Thursday, a search warrant was obtained and served at his residence in Belhaven. Evidence was collected and processed. Interviews were also being conducted to develop additional leads.
At approximately 11 p.m. Friday, investigators learned that Lopez-Perez had been arrested by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office for resisting, delaying, and obstructing a public officer.
Investigators traveled to Greenville and spoke with the Lopez-Perez, who was returned to Beaufort County with investigators and was interviewed. As a result of information collected during the investigation, Lt. Jamie Cahoon applied for and obtained a warrant charging Lopez-Perez with murder in Willson’s death. Lopez-Perez was held in the Beaufort County Detention Center without bond.
Investigators then applied for and obtained a search warrant for the home and vehicle of a second suspect that resides in Belhaven.
On Friday morning, deputies and investigators with the sheriff’s office served the search warrant at 671 Pamlico St., Belhaven, and arrested Weston.
Weston also was charged with Willson’s murder.
The investigation is ongoing and investigators have recovered items stolen from the murder scene. Additional charges are expected against Lopez and Weston in this case, the sheriff’s office said.