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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Couple held on murder charges

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

SCENE OF THE CRIME: A sliver of police tape waves with the wind at Stephen Furr's trailer on Buck Lane, 4.8 miles from Highway 167 in Cave City. Investigators removed the police tape from the home Jan. 5, three days after Furr was found stabbed to death inside. (Photo/Wulff)

A Cave City couple is being held in the Sharp County jail without bond after they allegedly stabbed a Poughkeepsie man to death in his home Jan. 2 with kitchen knives and a screwdriver.

William Franklin Young Jr., 42, and Leslie A. "Williams" Young, 34, were arrested by Independence County deputies Jan. 3 as suspects in the murder of 38-year-old Stephen Furr. Each was charged with one count of capital murder during their first court appearance Jan. 5 before District Judge Mark Johnson.

Johnson appointed public defender R. T. Starken to represent Leslie Young and David Throesch to represent William Young.

They are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 24 before Circuit Judge Harold Erwin. Until that time, they are being held in the Sharp County jail without bond, as ordered by Johnson.

Furr's ex-wife, Devonda Furr, said she last saw him alive around 1 a.m. Jan. 2 when Furr and two new friends he met Jan. 1, William and Leslie Young, who also reside in a Curia Creek apartment, dropped her off at her apartment in the same complex after a night of visiting and drinking with friends, said Sharp County Detective Sgt. David Huffmaster, who is investigating the murder with other Sharp County sheriff's deputies, the Arkansas State Police and the Independence County Sheriff's Office.

"They (Furr and his ex-wife) seemed to have a good relationship although they were divorced," Huffmaster said. "They got along pretty well."

Furr, a self-employed heating and cooling technician, was found dead inside his home at 17 Buck Lane outside of Cave City at 7:18 p.m. Jan. 2 by his two sons, ages 12 and 9.

The boys' mother, Devonda Furr, had taken the two to their father's house to retrieve a game they had left when they stayed the night New Year's Eve. Devonda Furr waited in the vehicle while the boys went inside and found their father sitting in a recliner in the living room with wounds to his upper torso. The boys ran outside and told their mother, who called 9-1-1 from her cellular phone.

When authorities arrived they found Furr covered with blood, with numerous puncture and stab wounds to his chest, arms and neck, lying in a recliner in the living room. A flat screwdriver and an Old Hickory kitchen knife, both bloodstained, were found underneath him in the chair. Life Care Ambulance personnel determined Furr had been dead for some time.

Investigators found blood on the kitchen faucet with bloody paper towels nearby. A large kitchen knife was on the kitchen counter and appeared to have been cleaned, Huffmaster said.

In addition, a gas heater was found torn off a wall. The gas line appeared to have been intentionally ruptured and a partially burned bag of pet food was found nearby.

Several items were missing from Furr's trailer including his 1995 Ford F150 truck, an eMachine desktop computer, speakers, a mouse, a keyboard, an AMD Afflone processor, a Cyberhome Progressive scan DVD player, an Emerson professional microwave oven, a Sanyo television, a Eureka vacuum cleaner, a Sony Playstation 2, two shotguns and a pistol. An empty package of Maxum brand pepper spray was also found near Furr's body.

"It was obvious somebody had been through some things," Huffmaster said. "Right now we feel like robbery was the motive."

The Youngs immediately became suspects after authorities spoke with Furr's friends and family members.

"He was known to have been seen with them earlier in the evening," Huffmaster said. "About four or five people saw him, including one police officer. They were the last people to have been seen with Stephen Furr prior to him being murdered."

Police attempted to speak to the couple, but the two were never found at their apartment. Friends of Furr notified police that they had seen a couple matching the description of the Youngs driving the truck. The truck was later found abandoned in Independence County.

Independence County authorities notified Detective John Qualls Jan. 3 that William Young had been in the E-Z Pawn Shop and pawned tools. Qualls went to the business and learned he had pawned a tool pouch full of tools, a set of gauges, a Craftsman cordless screwgun, a Cooper digital temperature instrument, Milwaukee electric saw and a 10-amp battery charger, all items that had been in Furr's truck. Qualls found blood on some of the tools and seized the items as evidence.

It was trying to rid themselves of Furr's belongings that ended in their apprehension, said Captain Bill Lindsey with the Independence County Sheriff's Office.

"We had made some phone calls to some pawn shops and one told us they had left the business about 30 minutes earlier," Lindsey said.

The pawn shop personnel gave authorities a description of the vehicle. The driver, a friend of the Youngs, had dropped them off at a doctor's office in Batesville where another friend of theirs had an appointment.

"We went there and they were in a vehicle outside with their two children," Lindsey said. The children, ages 6 and 9, were released to a relative, he said.

The two were arrested on warrants from other counties for non violent crimes. Leslie Young had a warrant for failure to make payments from Sharp County. William Young had a Sharp County bench warrant for failure to appear.

When they were booked in the Sharp County jail, jail matron Elaine Moody noticed a drop of blood on the right side of Leslie Young's nose, blood smears on her arms and blood stains on her pants, shoes and socks.

Leslie Young also had a small canister of Maxum pepper spray in her possession.

"I didn't do anything. It wasn't me," Leslie Young told Sheriff Dale Weaver during an interview. She refused to answer questions regarding her husband's role in the murder and asked for an attorney.

William Young told Arkansas State Police special agents Gary Gray and Pardo Roberts that he was at Furr's home working on a computer when Furr began making advances toward his wife.

"William stated Steve ripped Leslie's shirt off and she was screaming for help. William stated Steve grabbed a knife and swung it at him and cut his (William's) right hand. William stated he picked up something that was leaning against the wall and hit him (Steve) with something like a pipe at which time Steve dropped the knife. William then stated he picked up the knife and stabbed him a couple of times around the shoulder. William went on to say, 'It seemed like it wasn't doing any good and I must have picked up the screwdriver and stabbed him (Steve) with it and he fell back into the chair,'" the arrest affidavit said.

Furr himself had been tried on second-degree murder charges for the 1991 death of his wife's first husband.

According to the Howard County Circuit Clerk's Office, Furr murdered Devonda Furr's husband, Rodney Curry, on Christmas day 1991.

A drunken Curry, 29, threatened Furr, who had been living with Devonda Furr, with a knife. Furr fired one shot at Curry, striking him in the face and killing him. Furr argued the action was in self defense.

Furr was convicted of manslaughter Sept. 16, 1992, and sentenced to three years in prison.

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