LOGAN, W.Va. -- A Logan County judge had ordered police to arrest a man one week before he allegedly broke into two homes and killed two men.John Edward Dempsey broke into the Logan home of Grover Ray Morrison, 88, and killed the elderly man sometime before Tuesday, the West Virginia State Police said.Then on Thursday, authorities said, they discovered that Dempsey had broken into the home of Freddy Williams, 57, in Lyburn, and stabbed the man to death.Troopers later shot and killed Dempsey.
Dempsey, 37, pleaded guilty on Dec. 7 to one count of burglary in Logan County Circuit Court. He was freed on a $10,000 bail while awaiting a Jan. 30 sentencing.After being released, Dempsey failed a required drug screening by testing positive for morphine. Logan Circuit Judge Eric H. O'Briant issued a warrant for Dempsey's arrest on Jan. 3.Nearby authorities were told to be on the lookout for Dempsey and arrest him if they came into contact with him, according to the warrant. Police weren't actively looking for Dempsey until they suspected him in connection to Morrison's slaying.
Relatives called police Tuesday when they went to Morrison's home along Stratton Street in Logan and found him dead. Police said Dempsey tied up the elderly man before killing him. Morrison's car was taken from his home and later found in the Man area.Sometime before Thursday, State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said, Dempsey broke into Williams' home along Taplin Court in Lyburn and stabbed Williams to death,Detectives are piecing together a timeline to determine how long Dempsey was hiding out inside William's house. They aren't sure if Williams was killed on or before Thursday, Baylous said.
Dempsey attempted another home invasion later Thursday, but the male homeowner scared Dempsey away with a firearm, Baylous said.Dempsey then walked up to a woman getting ready to go somewhere in her car and pulled a rifle on her, Baylous said.Baylous said Dempsey told the woman to "give him the keys and, if she took off running, he wouldn't shoot her."Police later spotted the stolen vehicle along W.Va. 10 and chased Dempsey into Man, about five miles away from Lyburn.Dempsey suddenly pulled over, got out of the car and pointed his rifle at the troopers, Baylous said. He was then shot and killed. Police are still looking for a motive in the slayings of Morrison and Williams.
Dempsey was facing up to 10 years in prison when he was to be sentenced on the burglary conviction later this month. He was arrested after breaking into a Verdunville house on May 26.Logan Sheriff Sonya Porter said police officers were very familiar with Dempsey. She was aware of the warrant for his probation violation. However, the probation office usually notifies all nearby agencies if they think a suspect is dangerous or if the suspect needs immediate arrest, she said.Morrison was a World War II veteran and worked for decades at the First National Bank of Logan, according to his obituary. Relatives were preparing to bury him Saturday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Pecks Mill.A woman who answered the phone at Williams' home Friday evening did not wish to comment and said his friends and family are grieving. WSAZ-TV reported that Williams called their newsroom in response to a story they aired about Dempsey on Wednesday night. Williams said he was afraid of Dempsey and that Dempsey had been violent toward him a few months ago.Baylous said he assumed the troopers involved were placed on temporary leave, which is standard State Police procedure for officer-involved shootings.Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.