Police: Evidence ties suspect to anchor's slaying

By: TOM PARSONS, Associated Press Writer
By: TOM PARSONS, Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Police said Friday they talked to the suspect in the slaying of a TV anchorwoman before his arrest this week and gathered physical evidence they say links him to the slaying.

Lt. Terry Hastings told The Associated Press on Friday that detectives interviewed Curtis Lavelle Vance at his home in Marianna and collected forensic evidence in the death of Anne Pressly.

Hastings says the case against Vance "was made off of forensics." Hastings declined to say how they obtained the evidence — whether it willing given by Vance or taken without his knowledge. In Arkansas, police can obtain evidence from discarded material or trash — DNA evidence from a cigarette butt, for example — without a warrant.

Vance, 28, was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of capital murder in the Oct. 20 attack on Pressly, 26, a morning anchorwoman for Little Rock's ABC affiliate, KATV. She died five days later, having never regained consciousness.

Tips from the public led to the arrest within a couple of hours after police publicly named Vance and his picture was broadcast on television. Vance was arrested at a home in central Little Rock, which is some 90 miles from Marianna, where he lives.

Police said a Friday morning court hearing for Vance will be held at the jail and not be open to the public.

Earlier, Hastings, said he did not know if Vance had an attorney. He said a public defender would likely be appointed.

Valerie Cooper, the mother of Vance's girlfriend, Sheanika Cooper, told KATV that she learned of the charge Thursday morning and doesn't believe Vance committed the crime. She said he has "a real nice personality."

"He didn't give me no kind of hint or nothing. It shocked me," she said. "I don't want to believe he did something like that."

When police announced Wednesday that they were looking for Vance, they had said he might be with Sheanika Cooper and three children. But they was not with him when he was arrested later that day.

Police did not disclose what led them to suspect Vance.

Hastings had said previously that DNA and other evidence from the scene gave police a portrait of the person they were looking for, though they did not have a name until this month.

One of Pressly's credit cards was used at a gas station after the beating, but Hastings said security camera footage didn't provide a good look at the person using it.

Asked if Vance had made a formal statement after his arrest, Hastings said: "He talked with detectives. I'll leave it at that."

Pressly's father, Guy Cannady, attended the news conference where Vance's picture was distributed by police.

"It's very difficult to look at the picture, just knowing what Anne went through, that that was the last guy that Anne saw in her life," he said before Vance's arrest.

Pressly's mother found Pressly early on the morning of Oct. 20. She had checked on her daughter after she didn't answer her daily wake-up call.

Pressly appeared briefly in the Oliver Stone movie "W" as a conservative commentator who speaks favorably of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" event on an aircraft carrier after the start of the Iraq war. She got the part when she was noticed by a casting director as she did a news story on the film while it was being shot in Shreveport, La.

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Associated Press write Jon Gambrell contributed to this report.


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