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Harnett County Authorities Seek Suspected Killer

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COATS, N.C. — Harnett County investigators are looking for a suspected killer.

Sheriff's deputies found a man identified as William Gary Stephens Jr., of Jefferson, Ga., shot to death in the front yard of a home in Coats Saturday night. They believe the suspect, identified as Billy Thomas Pearson, fled the scene in a dark Blue Lincoln Continental with North Carolina tags.

Authorities think Pearson is headed for either Virginia Beach or Georgia. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous. He was seen leaving the scene with a .380 automatic handgun.

Pearson has been entered as wanted for the first-degree murder of Stephens and also is wanted by Georgia authorities for other felonies unrelated to this incident.

According to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins, Stephens was shot and killed about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The incident occurred in the front yard of a residence located at 1035 Dixon Road.

Stephens was transported to Good Hope Hospital and later life-flighted to Duke, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 11:22 p.m. Saturday.

Pearson, who will turn 50 on Tuesday, is described as a 6-foot-4 white man weighing 210 pounds, with dark hair, short on top with a short pony tail.

Pearson has a mustache and tattoos on both arms from shoulder to elbows. He was last seen driving a 1989 dark blue 4-door Lincoln Continental with spoke hubcaps and a homemade tow bar.

Rollins said Pearson's vehicle has a crack in the front windshield, near the rear-view mirror mount.

Pearson reportedly was being accompanied by a while female with blonde hair, who goes by the names Stephanie Arwood, or Stephanie Wilkes or Katie Moore.

Rollins said Pearson is armed and dangerous.

Anyone with any information about the suspect or the shooting is asked to called the Harnett County Sheriff's Office at

(910) 893-9111.

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