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2 W.Va. men charged in Ark. rapes, slashing

February 13, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Two Eastern Panhandle brothers were being held without bond Wednesday after two sisters were raped and kidnapped from an Arkansas apartment and their mother's throat was slashed, police said.

Alan Chauncey, 28, of Ranson, W.Va., and Richard Francis Barr, 20, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., each were charged with rape, kidnapping and car theft, said Sgt. Bill Milburn of the Conway (Ark.) Police Department. Chauncey also was charged with attempted capital felony murder and Barr was charged with attempted murder, Milburn said.

Chauncey and Barr were being held at the Faulkner County (Ark.) Jail, about 20 miles north of Little Rock.

Police were trying to determine Wednesday whether the two West Virginia men could be linked to other crimes, including three slayings in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, Milburn said.

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The two were arrested Tuesday in separate vehicles 35 miles apart, one after the sport utility vehicle he was driving crashed into an embankment. One sister was found in each of the vehicles.

Police said the sport utility vehicle involved in the chase was a 1997 Ford Explorer that had been stolen last month from the Kent Parsons Ford dealership near Martinsburg.

"These are bad actors. It was one of those crime sprees ... you could make movies about," said FBI Special Agent I.C. Smith, an Arkansas investigator who is working on the case.

Police said Tuesday's incident began on Interstate 40 when a 40-year-old woman and her 19-year-old daughter were on their way to visit the woman's 21-year-old daughter in Conway.

Two men followed the women from the freeway to the daughter's apartment in Conway, police said. The men entered the apartment after one of them asked to use the bathroom there, police said.

Inside the apartment, the men handcuffed the mother and one of the daughters to a bed and raped the second daughter in the living room, said Milburn. Then they raped the other daughter, Milburn said.

One of the men took the two younger women outside to a car while the other cut their mother's throat, Milburn said. The woman suffered a "massive cut" from ear to ear, and also was struck in the head with a chair, Milburn said.

The men drove off in separate vehicles, each one taking one of the daughters, Milburn said.

Despite her injuries, the woman managed to call emergency operators from a neighbor's phone, police said. Telephone lines to the daughter's apartment were cut at the time of the attack.

The mother was listed in critical condition after surgery at the Conway Regional Medical Center, officials said.

The woman described the sport utility vehicle driven by her attackers, and it was spotted moments later in downtown Conway, police said. Officers pursued the truck onto Interstate 40, where it headed west.

During the high-speed chase, another car tried to run police cars off the road, police said. The car belonged to the sisters' mother, and apparently had been taken from the apartment by one of the men, police said.

The car left the interstate near Atkins, Ark., located about 50 miles northwest of Little Rock, while the Explorer stayed on I-40 and sped to Clarksville, about 80 miles northwest of Little Rock, police said.

Police said the driver of the Explorer fired shots at police during the chase, and one patrol car was struck.

Police fired a shotgun at the Explorer, damaging a windshield, and also fired darts at the tires, causing one of them to deflate, police said.

The driver was arrested after the Explorer crashed into an embankment near a high school, police said.

The driver of the car was arrested at Pottsville, Ark., after he got out of the car and tried to run, but was stopped by state police and Conway officers, authorities said.

Neither of the sisters were injured during the chase, police said.

Milburn said the two men are being investigated in the slaying of a truck driver at a rest stop along I-40. The killing occurred about 15 miles west of Conway on Jan. 30, Milburn said.

Smith said the FBI is trying to trace the path the men took and to find out why they came to Arkansas. Smith said he believes the two went through Memphis, Tenn., and they are being investigated in connection with an unsolved rape there.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Jack Hockman said a man took a Ford Explorer for a test drive from Kent Parsons on Jan. 22, but never returned the vehicle. "That's the last we heard of it until Arkansas started calling," said Hockman.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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