Local News

Man arrested in slaying of Four Oaks couple

Posted January 22, 2010 4:44 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2010 6:53 a.m. EST

— 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.