Local News

Cumberland County detectives solve 1974 slaying

Posted October 15, 2010 9:31 a.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2010 7:07 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County homicide detectives announced Friday that they have solved the 1974 slaying of a 21-year-old Sanford man that had been declared a cold case.

Anthony King was found dead along Bremer Street on July 8, 1974, authorities said. He had been shot in the chest.

Investigators at the time interviewed numerous people but couldn't determine a suspect or motive.

Thanks to a witness who came forward recently, investigators say they believe that King was killed by Waylon Perry Sauls, a then-47-year-old resident of Sanford. Sauls died in 1997 of acute alcoholism.

"Sometimes we can't answer why they want to come forward," said Charlie Disponzio, a Cumberland County Sheriff's Office detective. "Sometimes when you get older, you want to clear your conscious of things. We've had several cold cases like that where somebody waited a decade to come forward with information."

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said that, had Sauls lived, investigators had enough evidence to take the case to a grand jury for a first-degree murder indictment.

King's sister, Teressa Dominguez, said Friday that the announcement gave her some relief but not complete closure.

"My parents, they're dead now, but I wish they could have (experienced this) because they would call every week for probably five years before they finally gave up," Dominguez said.

Investigators believe that Sauls killed King during an argument over a $300 drug debt that Sauls' son owed King.

Sauls came to the Fayetteville apartment where King was staying with his sister and convinced King to go on a ride with him. Investigators said that Sauls then shot King and left his body on the side of the road.

Sauls was identified as the perpetrator based on new information given by a friend of King that was corroborated with other evidence, Tanna said.

His only previous offense was a drunken driving charge.

King's death marks the seventh cold case that Cumberland County sheriff's homicide detectives have solved since 2004.