Suspects arrested in Utah murders, Nev. shooting
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Nevada rancher who spotted a man and woman walking in a desolate area while surveying his cattle from the air Tuesday led police to arrest the suspects in the killing of an elderly Utah couple in a crime spree that spanned two states.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Phelps told The Associated Press that Logan Welles McFarland, 24, and Angela Atwood, 25, were found Tuesday afternoon near Interstate 80 about 35 miles west of the Utah border, not far from where they ditched police in a high-speed chase Saturday.
Phelps said the couple didn’t resist and were taken into custody as suspects in the killings and in the shooting of a woman during a botched carjacking in Nevada.
The couple had abandoned their car and weapons before federal marshals, Elko County sheriff’s deputies and West Wendover police made the arrest at about 12:30 p.m. a few miles south of Oasis, Nev., said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Stewart.
The arrest was “pretty calm,” Stewart recounted, adding that the suspects said, “We give up.”
Rancher and Elko County Commissioner Demar Dahl, also a pilot, spotted the suspects from the air Tuesday while surveying his cattle.
He said he called authorities Monday night to ask if the suspects had been captured, and figured he’d keep an eye out.
“We flew and looked and sure enough we found them,” Dahl told the AP.
“We didn’t have any cellphone coverage, so we followed them for a ways, just circling them,” Dahl added. “We flew low, right down next to them.”
Dahl said he then flew back into cell range and called authorities.
“It was just lucky that we found them,” he said.
On Sunday, authorities issued an arrest warrant for McFarland in the burglary of the Utah couple’s Mount Pleasant home. He has since been charged.
Neither suspect has been charged in the killings, or in the carjacking or shooting of the West Wendover woman, who is recovering at a Salt Lake City hospital.
Federal marshals said they would drop a charge of unlawful flight to let state authorities take over the case.
McFarland has a recent criminal history that includes drug and theft charges, according to the Utah state courts database. He was released Oct. 10 after spending a month in jail for a conviction of theft by receiving stolen property. He was supposed to pay a $500 fine in monthly installments. In August, he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. That charge was dismissed a month later by prosecutors.
Atwood has some minor offenses listed in court records.
The suspects’ stolen vehicle has not been found, and police believe it may have broken down in the mountains south of I-80.
Police said a witness told them McFarland bragged at a Friday night party about obtaining money and firearms.
The warrant filed in court Tuesday says McFarland and a woman left in a stolen car for West Wendover, Nev., where police say they shot and wounded a woman in the head during an attempted carjacking.
McFarland and Atwood had been last seen in Nevada on Saturday driving a stolen gray Volkswagen Jetta. They led police on a 50-mile chase at speeds up to 100 mph before turning off the interstate and fleeing into the hills.
Jewelry and other stolen items from the home of the Utah couple, LeRoy and Ann Fullwood, were found in the trunk of a car the suspects took from the host of the Friday night party, police said.
The car was ditched about 45 miles away and a stolen Saturn sedan was allegedly used to drive to West Wendover. A receipt from a fast-food restaurant found in the car indicated the meal was paid for with LeRoy Fullwood’s stolen credit card.
The Jetta was then stolen in a motel parking lot.