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Pa. woman slain

Captured suspect in State Line widow's death linked to five homicides in Texas

Captured suspect in State Line widow's death linked to five homicides in Texas

August 28, 2007|By DON AINES and HEATHER KEELS

STATE LINE, Pa. - The manhunt for Paul G. Devoe stretched from Texas to Long Island, N.Y., where he was captured Monday, and the U.S. Marshals Service said his trail took him to an isolated dead end road in Franklin County, where an 81-year-old widow was found shot dead in her home.

Pennsylvania State Police found the body of Betty Jane Dehart, of 15349 North Young Road, Monday afternoon, about three hours after Devoe, 43, was captured in Shirley, N.Y.

Dehart died of an apparent single gunshot wound to the head, said Lenny DePaul, commander of the U.S. Marshals Service New York-New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Neighbors familiar with the few people living on the road that parallels Interstate 81 in Antrim Township said they saw an unfamiliar white station wagon drive down the road Saturday afternoon, and then saw Dehart's small blue car driven away Sunday morning, although they were not sure who was behind the wheel.

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On Monday night, a white Saturn station wagon with Texas plates was loaded onto a rollback truck and driven from the crime scene.

Devoe, who is a suspect in five killings in Texas, has family in Long Island, DePaul said, and the Marshal's Service "did a full-court press throughout the night and into today," conducting interviews and surveillance.

Devoe was found at the home of someone he knew. When asked if anyone else was in the house, that person said Devoe was inside.

DePaul said Devoe was armed with a handgun but was taken into custody without incident at about 12:30 p.m. Monday. The Associated Press reported a brief standoff at the house.

Devoe was being held by the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Police Department, according to a U.S. Marshals Service statement.

After Devoe was taken into custody, the blue car with Pennsylvania registration was found in the driveway of the house and traced to Dehart, DePaul said.

"We got a call at about 3 p.m.," Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ed Asbury said Monday night. Troopers were sent to the house and discovered the car with Texas registration.

"A check was done and it came back stolen," Asbury said. "Troopers then knocked at the door, made entry and found the victim."

There was no sign of a struggle, Asbury said.

Charges in Texas

DePaul said the vehicle found at Dehart's home was stolen from one of five homicide victims in Texas.

Devoe was charged with murder in the Friday slaying of a bartender in Marble Falls, Texas, and on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez.

Marble Falls is about 20 miles from where four people were found dead near Jonestown, Texas.

Gomez said that Devoe is a suspect in the deaths of those victims, found at a home in an area near Jonestown, between Marble Falls and Austin.

Later Monday, detectives charged Devoe in the death of Paula Griffith, an ex-girlfriend and one of the four people found shot to death in the Texas home. Marshals expected he would be arraigned today in New York's Suffolk County.

The bartender at O'Neill's bar, Michael Allred, was shot trying to stop Devoe from shooting two women, according to a Marshals Service statement.

An arrest warrant affidavit filed in Travis County, Texas, said detectives found the bodies of Griffith, her 15-year-old daughter Haylie Marie Faulkner, 17-year-old Danielle Hensley and Griffith's boyfriend, 48-year-old Jay Feltner.

Darrell W. Gribble told investigators that his daughter, Hensley, was to have gone to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio on Saturday with the Griffiths and Feltner. He went to the house Sunday afternoon because he hadn't heard from her.

Larry Faulker, Paula Griffith's former common-law husband, told authorities that Devoe dated Griffith for about three months two years ago.

According to the affidavit, Devoe made a call to his mother in New York using Feltner's cell phone and told her he had killed five people.

Lived alone

Dehart lived in a small mobile home visible from Interstate 81 through a chain-link fence. Neighbors said she lived there alone.

Randy Runshaw, who lives near the entrance to North Young Street, said he saw the white station wagon turn in around 4 p.m. Saturday. He remembers noticing the Texas license plate.

"I just thought it was weird because I've never seen the car here," he said. "It's a dead-end street, so you get to know who comes in here."

Runshaw also said he saw Dehart's little blue car leave the neighborhood when he went outside to let his dogs out Sunday morning, sometime between 7 and 8:30 a.m.

He remembers waving, assuming it was Dehart, but doesn't remember seeing her in the car. Thinking back on the moment, he said the car was going a little faster than it normally does.

Runshaw watched Monday evening as police cars made their way down the winding country road to the mobile home, which sits about a quarter-mile from the entrance.

As the orange lights of a tow truck approached, he pointed to the white Saturn station wagon with Texas plates being removed from the property and said, "That's it."

Cancer survivor

Deb Allamong, who has lived on North Young Street for 14 years, said Dehart was a cancer survivor who kept to herself. She said she was independent and could still drive. She recently bought the blue car, Allamong said.

"It's a shame," Allamong said. "She's a real nice lady - very friendly. She would always wave."

Allamong and Runshaw said they were shaken by the incident.

"That's scary, to live in a neighborhood like this and there's a murder right here," Allamong said.

"It's a wonder he wasn't trying to knock on our door to get our car," Runshaw said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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