Local News

Wake man charged with killing Arizona woman's husband

Posted June 15, 2011 9:42 a.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2011 7:50 a.m. EDT

— Authorities believe that a Wake County man and an Arizona woman conspired to kill her husband, whose body was found at a New Mexico airport 10 days ago, according to arrest warrants.

Marzet Farris III, 46, of 7304 Mount Pleasant Road in Willow Spring, and Laura Jeanna Stelmasek, 46, of 1635 Meadowridge Road in Prescott, Ariz., killed Craig Stelmasek, 57, between May 31 and June 5, warrants state. Prescott police said they found evidence of a homicide at the Stelmaseks' home.

Craig Stelmasek's body was found June 5 wrapped in blankets inside a van that had been left at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport for at least several days. The cause of death has not been released.

Authorities tracked Farris and Stelmasek to North Carolina. Prescott police said the pair knew each other, but didn't elaborate on their relationship. U.S. marshals arrested them at Farris' Willow Spring home Tuesday evening.

"I saw the police fully armed, running toward the house," neighbor Peggy Massey said. "There were also cops coming with handguns, and I heard them ask the people to come out of the house, or a person come out, with their hands up."

Prescott police have charged Farris and Laura Stelmasek with first-degree murder and abandonment or concealment of a dead body.

Laura Stelmasek also faces one count of child abuse per domestic violence involving the couple's high-school age daughter. The girl has been put in the custody of Child Protective Services, police said.

Anyone with information about this case was asked to call the Prescott Police Department's investigation section at 928-777-1920 or Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.

Massey said that Farris was a private, helpful neighbor, who rarely had any company and would mow her lawn and run errands for her when her car was broken down.

"That's why it just blows my mind that they could say he's done this, because he was so nice," she said.

Court records show that Farris pleaded guilty to assault on a female, misdemeanor breaking and entering and communicating threats in 2005 involving a man and woman in Franklin County. He was given 18 months' probation.

Both suspects were held without bond in the Wake County jail. At a court hearing Wednesday, they waived their right to fight extradition and will be returned to Arizona.