Four murder defendants slated for court in April

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Four men charged with murder are scheduled to appear during an administrative session of Beaufort County Superior Court on April 5.

Domonic Kidean Farrow, Arturo Lopez-Perez and Martel Deval Weston are charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of Bath resident Leonard Alfred Willson III on Oct. 7.

Willson, a paraplegic, had lived in Bath approximately 15 years. He could frequently be seen cycling in and around Bath on his recumbent handcycle.

Each defendant also is charged with first-degree burglary, felony larceny, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree arson.

During an administrative session, the court may hear pending pretrial motions, set such motions for hearing on a date certain or defer ruling on motions until the trial of the case.

On Oct. 14, 2010, 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 resist, delay, and obstructing a public officer. As a result of information collected during the investigation, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jamie Cahoon obtained a warrant charging Lopez-Perez with murder.

Investigators then 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 also was charged with murder.

On Oct. 25, 2010, Farrow was arrested by Cahoon with assistance from Hyde County probation and parole officers. Farrow was charged with murder.

As of Monday, Lopez-Perez, Weston and Farrow were in the Beaufort County Detention Center, each under a $1 million secured bond for the murder charge.

On Dec. 13, 2010. Beaufort County grand jury indicted the three men for murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson, armed robbery and felony larceny, with all charges stemming from the death of Willson.

An examination of court files show that an order granting Lopez-Perez’s defense team money to hire an investigator has been filed.

Gary Curtis Upton Jr. is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of his father, Gary Curtis Upton Sr. on Oct. 18, 2010. Originally, the younger Upton was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. That charge was dropped when the elder Upton died Oct. 20, 2010, resulting in the murder charge.

Upton was 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 was appointed to represent Upton.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike