07/22/05 — Arrest made in arson deaths

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Arrest made in arson deaths

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 22, 2005 1:45 PM

A resident of an apartment building in which two people died in a fire was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

Leon Edward Farrior, 34, was arrested at his new apartment in the 400 block of North Carolina without incident, Investigator Dale Foster said today.

Leon Edward Farrior


Foster declined to reveal a motive for Saturday's predawn burning in which Roy Chester Rowe, 48, and Patricia Ann Raynor, 38, died at 206 N. George St. The fire deaths were the first this year for the city.

Farrior was taken before a magistrate who ordered that he be held in the Wayne County Jail without bond. Farrior's first court appearance to determine his legal representation was scheduled for Monday.

Farrior was sentenced in 1990 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to breaking and entering.

Farrior had lived in Apt. D, across from the victims, who lived in Apt. C, on the second floor of the old wood-frame house. Investigators believe he knew the victims.

Foster said Farrior showed up soon after firefighters arrived Saturday morning, but by the time police got there, he had disappeared.

Two other tenants who lived in the downstairs apartments escaped unharmed from the fire. The only other occupant was in Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Foster also noted that an unnamed airman from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base had seen the fire first and tried to get the victims out but was unsuccessful.

"He had tried to crawl through the door when he heard moaning but couldn't get to them," Foster said.

Danny Cobb, a customer service representative at the Goldsboro post office, also saw the fire while going to work. He called 911 and beat on the windows and doors without success.

Foster, the on-call investigator, said the victims' bodies had been removed from the home by the time he got there at about 5:30 a.m., about an hour after the fire was reported.

Ms. Raynor was buried Thursday. Rowe's funeral was held today.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Rea of the State Bureau of Investigation assisted in the investigation. Investigator Mike Moore assisted in the arrest.