Local News

Man Charged in Wilson Slayings

Posted December 19, 2006 10:08 a.m. EST
Updated December 19, 2006 5:22 p.m. EST

— A Rocky Mount man was arrested late Monday and charged with killing a Wilson couple within hours of moving into their home last week, authorities said.

Steve Allen Ward, 37, of 400 Courtland Drive in Rocky Mount, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond in the Wilson County Jail.

The bodies of Danny Richardson, 30, of Wilson, and Lathosa West, 23, of Grifton, were found inside the master bedroom at a house at 4574 Evansdale Road at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. A concerned relative stopped by Richardson's house and found the couple's bodies.

Authorities said both victims were killed last Wednesday morning. They had been shot multiple times, but investigators haven't located a murder weapon.

Richardson and Ward were friends and had just reacquainted, authorities said. Richardson invited Ward to move in, which he did last Tuesday night, authorities said.

"They were both in bed (Wednesday) morning when Mr. Ward went in, knocked on the door. They awoke, and at that point, there was some confrontation, and that's when the shots were fired," Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay said.

"We have, really, no motive for this crime, other than we believe it possibly stems from some revenge over an incident the two of them had, possibly several years ago," Gay said.

After Wilson County authorities put out an alert for Ward on Monday, state Highway Patrol troopers responding to a wreck in Martin County recognized one of the drivers as Ward, authorities said. They took him into custody and returned him to Wilson.

Richardson and West had been dating for about five months, authorities said. He was separated from his wife and had two children, with a third on the way.

West, an Army reservist, was reported missing Friday by her mother.

"I just hope this guy gets what he deserves," Army Spc. Bryce Bozman said Tuesday after attending Ward's court hearing. "(West) was a great person. She was a great soldier."