Police: Standoff over; man dead, woman arrested
WEST POINT, Ga. - Authorities said a standoff between law enforcement and the couple wanted in connection to a series of murders along the Gulf Coast at a West Point, Georgia hotel is now over.
Sgt. Stewart Smith said the body of William "Billy" Boyette, 44, was found inside a room of the West Point Motel. Investigators believe he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Smith said a Georgia State Patrol SWAT team was sent into the room after he said Mary Rice, 37, left the motel room and surrendered to officers just before 6 p.m. Moments later, authorities heard a gunshot prompting the team to make entry.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will be handling the investigation into the death of Boyette.
No officers were injured during the standoff and no shots were fired by officers. Rice appears to be uninjured as well. She will be taken to Troup County Jail. Investigators hope Rice will fill in the pieces as to how the couple wound up at the motel and why they even chose to come to that area. Detectives from Escambia County are also expected to travel up to Troup County to interview Rice.
Investigators in Troup County said an alert law enforcement officer spotted a stolen vehicle in the parking of a motel near Lovelace Road around 2:30 p.m. prompting the standoff.
Boyette and Rice are suspected in the deaths of Alicia Greer, 30, and Jacqueline Jeanette Moore, 39, whose bodies were found at the Emerald Sands Inn in nearby Milton, Florida on Jan. 31. Investigators say the two drove across the state line and fatally shot Peggy Broz, 52, in Lillian, Alabama, on Friday, also taking Broz' car.
The two also are accused of shooting Kayla Crocker, 28, on Monday, said Escambia County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Chip Simmons. Crocker died as a result of her injuries on Tuesday afternoon.
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Agencies across the Panhandle and southern Alabama earlier had been told to consider Rice a person of interest in the attacks. On Monday she was upgraded to an official suspect. Authorities said she had multiple chances to flee or ask for help. She also has been spotted on surveillance video entering stores on her own.
In Alabama, sheriff's investigators named the two in the capital murder warrants and said in a news release that Rice was with Boyette when Broz was shot and killed during the early morning hours of Feb. 3. They also warned that the two should be considered dangerous and advised anyone who might see them to call 911.
In Florida, Crocker's mother went to check on her after she didn't show up for work Monday morning. She found Crocker with a gunshot wound. Her 2-year-old son was not injured, sheriff's officials said.
Crocker's white Chevrolet Cobalt was stolen and the sheriff told news outlets that video surveillance confirmed Boyette and Rice took the car to a nearby Shell station and ate at a Hardee's restaurant a short time after the attack.
Morgan said Boyette has a history of drug trafficking and is known to be a heavy user of the drug Spice.
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