PARKERSBURG - An arrest was made Thursday morning in the murder of Willard Rex Wright, Parkersburg police said.
John Eugene Anderson, 28, of Archer's Fork, Wayne National Forest, New Matamoras, was arrested on Sixth Street in Marietta before noon Thursday, Parkersburg police Chief Joe Martin said.
Martin said a warrant was issued for Anderson by Wood County Magistrate Donna Jackson. Martin said no other charges are pending at this time.
In addition to the arrest warrant for murder, Martin said a search warrant was issued and executed Thursday afternoon for the residence and car of Anderson's girlfriend, Tammy Wilfong, in Marietta. According to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court, Anderson devised a plan to go to Wright's apartment on Ann Street, stab him and steal money.
Martin said Wright was stabbed and his body was found on the apartment floor early Wednesday morning.
"It was a violent attack," Martin said.
Martin said Anderson has been interviewed by Parkersburg police in Marietta but has not made a statement.
"We interviewed him and he asked for an attorney,"he said.
Martin said extradition proceedings have started to bring Anderson to Wood County.
Police have learned Anderson had been to Wright's apartment at 910 Ann St., Apt. 2 before March 24, Martin said.
"His girlfriend, Wilfong, was Wright's niece and she had been taking care of him," Martin said. "He had been there before."
The criminal complaint states Anderson told an individual he was going to go somewhere to stab someone and get money.
According to the complaint, Anderson called an individual on a cell phone loaned to him to come to the parking lot of Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Wilfong's car. Anderson came from the area of 10th Street on his bicycle and the driver and a passenger helped him put his bike in the trunk, police said.
Anderson then told them something had happened and he was very agitated and had a black wallet in his possession, the complaint states. He did not have the cell phone with him.
The complaint states Anderson gave the driver directions to the alley behind Wright's apartment. He left the car and went to the area of the apartment door and later a passenger in the car said he heard a bang.
Anderson was seen entering the apartment by the driver and returned to the car a minute later, the complaint states. The driver said Anderson had a bloody knife he threw in the back seat and he had blood on his shirt. He later disposed of the shirt in a trash can, police said.
Parkersburg police and city street department personnel retrieved the wallet from a storm drain on 10th Street near the apartment building Wednesday.
At Wilfong's apartment Anderson changed his pants, folded them and left 30 minutes later with the pants, the complaint states.
Anderson is a registered sex offender in Washington County.
According to the Ohio Sex Offender Registry, Anderson is a tier 2 sex offender. On May 21, 2002, he was charged with unlawful assault with a minor, on Feb. 20, 2009, with felonious assault and on Aug. 24 with another charge not classified as a sex offense. His victims were listed as an elderly man and a young girl
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said Anderson was convicted in Washington County for unlawful sexual conduct with a 13-year-old girl and first registered in Washington County as a tier 2 sex offender in 2003.
Wright was convicted of rape of a very young girl in West Virginia in 1963 and convicted of rape of a girl less than 16 years of age in 1997 in Columbiana County, Ohio. He was released from prison in 2004, which is when he moved to Washington County.
"He came to us in 2004, and then he left and went to West Virginia on March 6, 2007," Mincks said.