Local News

Man Pleads No Contest to Double Murder

Posted March 22, 2007 4:04 p.m. EDT

— A Rocky Mount man will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading no contest to killing a Wilson couple in December.

Steve Allen Ward, 37, of 400 Courtland Drive, pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Danny Richardson, 30, and Lathosa West, 23.

The couple was shot to death on Dec. 13, but their bodies weren't found for several days until a relative stopped by Richardson's Wilson home.

Richardson had invited Ward, an old friend, to move in the day before the slayings, and a subsequent argument led to the shootings, authorities said.

Investigators said a 14-year grudge between the two men might have led to the slayings.

Ward spent seven years in prison for burning down a day-care center at Northern Nash High School in 1992. Richardson was an accomplice in the crime, but he was sentenced to five years in juvenile detention because he was a month short of his 16th birthday at the time.

The pair was also charged with assault in a shooting that took place the same night as the arson.