Three indicted for Bath murder|Developments unfold in other murder cases

Published 7:03 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

Contributing Editor

A Beaufort County grand jury has handed down three murder indictments in the 2010 murder of a Bath man.
True bills of indictment were returned against Domonic Kidean Farrow of Swan Quarter and Arturo Lopez-Perez and Martel Deval Weston, both from Belhaven, in the Oct. 7 beating death of Leonard Alfred Willson III. The grand jury also indicted them on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, armed robbery and felony larceny. Notices of the indictments were served to them Tuesday and Wednesday.
Trial dates for Farrow, Lopez-Perez and Weston have not been set.
They remain in jail, each under a $1 million bond on the murder charge and a $100,000 bond on the other charges. A motion by Weston’s court-appointed attorney, Ernest L. Conner of Greenville, to reduce Weston’s bond in the murder case has been denied by the court.
Farrow’s court-appointed attorney, Randell Hughes of Wilson, has filed a motion for discovery with the court to have the prosecution provide evidence and materials related to the case to the defense. That motion was filed Friday.
Washington attorney John Bramble was appointed to represent Lopez-Perez, according to documents on file in the Beaufort County Courthouse.
On Oct. 7, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a report of a deceased man at 115 S. Main St., Bath, where they located the body of Willson, 53. During a search of the crime scene, investigators determined the death was a homicide. Willson, a paraplegic, had lived in Bath approximately 15 years. He could frequently be seen cycling in and around Bath on his recumbent handcycle.
Preliminary results from an autopsy indicated 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 and set up surveillance on his residence.
On Oct. 14, a search warrant was obtained and served at Lopez-Perez’s residence in Belhaven. At approximately 11 p.m., investigators learned that Lopez-Perez had been arrested by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office for resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer. As a result of information collected during the investigation, Lt. Jamie Cahoon applied for and obtained a warrant charging Lopez-Perez with murder. 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. On Oct. 15, deputies and investigators with the sheriff’s office served the search warrant and arrested Weston, who was charged with murder and held in the Beaufort County Detention Center.
Farrow was arrested Oct. 25 by Cahoon with assistance from Hyde County probation and parole officers.
In another murder case, Greenville attorney Steven M. Fisher has been appointed to represent Michael Tracy Moore, who is charged with murder in the death of Carolyn Gizzelle Sceko-Rawls on Dec. 7.
Moore was arrested and charged after officers with Washington Police Department responded to a report of a domestic disturbance early that morning at Quail Ridge Apartments, where the victim resided.
Officers determined Sceko-Rawls was the victim of an altercation.
Moore remains in jail.
Moore has a criminal record that includes, but is not limited to, second-degree arson, larceny of a motor vehicle, misdemeanor breaking and entering, larceny, shoplifting, communicating threats and assault on a female, according to the N.C. Department of Correction’s website. Moore was released from prison in June after serving a sentence of two years and 29 days after his probation in an arson case was revoked. His offenses go back to at least January 1996.
In yet another homicide, Gary Curtis Upton Jr., charged with murder in the shooting death of his father, Gary Curtis Upton Sr., has been transferred from the Beaufort County Detention Center to the N.C. Department of Correction “due to over population and mental health and security,” according to court records.
Attorney James K. Antinore of Greenville has been appointed to represent Upton.
An Oct. 18 shooting in Washington that left the elder Upton injured became a homicide when the elder Upton died two days later. The shooting occurred at 118 Lilley Road.
Upon his father’s death, the younger Upton was charged with murder.