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Man arrested in slaying of Four Oaks couple

Posted January 22, 2010
Updated January 23, 2010

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— A suspect was arrested a day after the slaying of a Four Oaks couple whose bodies were found at their burning house Thursday, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said late Friday.

Barney Edward Gamble, 48, of King Mill Road in Four Oaks, was arrested at his home Friday. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of first-degree kidnapping, arson and larceny of a motor vehicle.

Bizzell said Gamble knew L.C. Beasley and Sue Anne Beasley. She was found dead inside their house at 125 Hollow Oak Drive, and her husband's body was found in a nearby shed when crews responded to the house fire shortly before 10 a.m.

"This evil act of violence that was inflicted upon Mr. and Mrs. Beasley is a disgrace to the sanctity of human life," Bizzell said.

Bizzell said that Gamble and L.C. Beasley were known to dabble in drugs and investigators were looking into whether drugs played a role in the slayings.

Danny Beasley, the couple’s nephew, called authorities to report smoke coming from the residence, according to a 911 call released Friday. After entering the house, Danny Beasley found his aunt tied up in a chair in the kitchen.

After authorities arrived, they searched a nearby shed and found L.C. Beasley's body. Two .22-caliber shell casings were found on the floor next to his body, according to a search warrant.

Danny Beasley also reported that his uncle’s Chevrolet pickup truck was gone. State troopers found the truck wrecked on Raleigh Road, not far from their house, Wednesday night, authorities said.

On Friday, authorities searched the couple's home and seized fired cartridge cases, flood molding, pieces of carpet and a video camera.

They also searched a home at 3078 King Mill Road, said Tammy Amaon, spokeswoman for the Johnston County Sheriff's Office. It was unclear what, if anything, authorities seized from that residence.

Gamble was transferred from the Johnston County jail to Central Prison in Raleigh for safety reasons. He was being held without bond.

“This arrest will hopefully will bring a sense of closure and healing for the family of the victims and a measure of security back into this community," Bizzell said.

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  • Brogden Jan 22, 2010

    So many unanswered questions -- if the truck was found hours before the body, and it was taken by whomever did the killings, why was the fire still so contained in one area as if newly set?
    Like I said - so many questions yet to be answered.

  • rescuefan Jan 22, 2010

    "The story does give times of the deaths but if they had tried to contact the owner of the truck, could they have prevented this???? It is such a sad story and my heart goes out to the family. There are many questions yet to be answered.
    Nothing New"

    I understand what you are saying, but if the truck was stolen by the ones who committed the crime (which I am sure it was), then the killing was already done by the time the truck was found. I don't think the killer would have gone back and killed them after he wrecked the truck.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. This is such a terribly sad story.

  • Nothing New Jan 22, 2010

    If the truck was found Wednesday night, why did they not try to contact the owner, especially if he lived in the area. The story does give times of the deaths but if they had tried to contact the owner of the truck, could they have prevented this???? It is such a sad story and my heart goes out to the family. There are many questions yet to be answered.