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Murder suspect Wes Doughty captured in S.C.

SPARTANBURG COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Murder suspect Wes Doughty is pictured in a booking photograph.

By LEAH DEARBORN and DAVID WILSON

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The second man suspected of killing Mark Greenlaw and Jennifer O’Connor appears to have traveled about 950 miles since Wednesday night, but the journey ended Friday.

Two white-collar investigators observed a man around 4:15 p.m. Friday holding a sign asking for money at an intersection in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, according to information from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigators approached the man in a McDonald’s parking lot, told him that solicitation is illegal and arrested him without incident.

After asking the man for his vital information, investigators ran his name and date of birth — Wes Doughty, Aug. 22, 1977 — through the National Crime Information Center. It was at that time the sheriff’s office says they learned the 5-foot 7-inch, 140-pound man was wanted for a double homicide in Peabody and carjacking out of Boston.

Law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts were notified of the 39-year-old’s arrest, and he was taken to the Spartanburg County Detention Facility.

The other suspect in the double homicide, Michael Hebb, 45, was arrested Monday at an apartment at 84 Aborn St. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree murder in Peabody District Court. He is scheduled to next appear in court March 28 for a probable cause hearing.

In a discovery which required the use of X-ray machinery, the bodies of Greenlaw, 37, and O’Connor, 39 — who were engaged to be married, according to their Facebook profiles — were found Feb. 18 in a home at 19 Farm Ave. in Peabody.

Later the same night, Peabody and state police began the search for Doughty, whose name was released to the public as a suspect Tuesday. Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, at the time, warned that Doughty is considered to be armed, dangerous and should not be approached.

On Wednesday night, Kenneth Metz of Middleton told FOX25  that Doughty carjacked him in the parking lot of Hailey’s Restaurant & Pub on South Main Street in Middleton. The 64-year-old grandfather said that Doughty, armed with a knife, restrained him with a seat belt and allegedly confessed to his involvement in the killings.

A waitress at Hailey’s, who asked to not be identified for this story, said Doughty is known to the neighborhood and has been, all week, the talk of the bar. The waitress said Doughty often came to the area to visit friends on River Street, or his mother, who she believes lives on Route 114 near the Peabody-Middleton line.

 Nobody at the bar heard any commotion from the parking lot the night of Metz’s carjacking, the waitress said. Most employees didn’t know anything had happened until they were greeted by reporters when arriving at work the next day, she said.

According to information from the Spartanburg sheriff’s office, Metz’s car — a gray 2006 Honda Accord with Massachusetts plates — was recovered from the Waffle House parking next to the McDonald’s where investigators approached Doughty.

Back in Peabody, city health officials have condemned the scene of the killings at 19 Farm Ave. A vacate order issued by the board of health Feb. 23 to property owners Lucy J. and Stanley J. Pikul Jr. said the dwelling was found to be unfit for human habitation.

The letter outlines hazardous conditions in the home, such as passageways blocked by furniture, plywood, clothing and household articles. The home did not have hot water or a working source of heat. Temporary electrical wiring was found throughout, as well as an accumulation of garbage, rubbish, “other combustible materials” and the “presence of potentially-infectious residue.”

Blood on the floors, walls and furniture was ordered to be removed by a person or company knowledgeable in cleaning biological materials within 24 hours. Occupants were ordered to vacate the building within 48. The property owners declined to comment when approached Friday.

As for Doughty, he will be arraigned Monday at the Spartanburg County Detention Facility on a fugitive from justice charge, according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. She says if Doughty waives rendition, he will be returned to Massachusetts within the week.


Item reporter Bridget Turcotte contributed to this report. Leah Dearborn can be reached at ldearborn@itemlive.com. David Wilson can be reached at dwilson@itemlive.com.

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