Local News

Warrant: Wake man flew to Arizona to kill lover's husband

Posted June 22, 2011 12:47 p.m. EDT

— Authorities believe that a Wake County man flew to Arizona to kill the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair, according to a search warrant released Wednesday.

Marzet Farris III, 46, of Willow Spring, and Laura Jeanna Stelmasek, 46, of Prescott, Ariz., face charges of first-degree murder in the death of her husband, Craig Stelmasek, 57, whose body was found in a van at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport on June 5.

Flight records show that Farris flew from Raleigh to Phoenix on June 1 and home again on June 3, followed by Laura Stelmasek on June 4, the warrant states.

Craig Stelmasek's throat had been slashed, and he had also been stabbed three times in the neck, the warrant states.

An autopsy determined that he was likely attacked from behind, and blood evidence indicates he was slain in his bedroom at his home, Prescott police said. Evidence of blood was also found in the hotel room where Farris had been staying.

The Stelmaseks' 16-year-old daughter told Prescott police that her father wasn't home on June 3 when she returned from a two-week trip to visit a friend in California. She last talked to her father by phone on May 30.

Laura Stelmasek told her daughter that he had left them, and the next day, she left too, sending her daughter a text message saying, "Leaving, I will be in touch," the warrant states.

The daughter and neighbors told police that the couple had fought "nightly" since December 2009, and Craig Stelmasek sometimes spent the night with a neighbor after the fights, the warrant states. Prescott police were called out to investigate possible domestic violence at the Stelmasek's home three times from January to May.

On one of those calls, Craig Stelmasek told officers that he had learned that his wife was having an affair with another man, later identified as Farris, the warrant states. Laura Stelmasek said they had been married for more than 20 years.

U.S. marshals arrested Farris and Stelmasek at his home at 7304 Mount Pleasant Road in Willow Spring on June 15.

The Wake County Sheriff's Pffice seized bandages, bandage wrappers, luggage, wallets, a computer, a cellphone, tennis shoes, a jewelry box, two greeting cards, a photograph and copies of emails from Farris' house.

In addition to murder, Prescott police charged them both with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and Laura Stelmasek with child abuse. They were placed in the Wake County jail and are awaiting extradition to Arizona.

The Stelmasek's daughter was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.