Fugitive charged in N.C. killing

Convicted sex offender, formerly of Harford County, held in woman's death

November 19, 2006|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter

A former Harford County man who was being sought for failure to register as a sex offender after his release from a Maryland prison in June was arrested in North Carolina and charged in the murder of a 63-year-old Winston-Salem woman whose body was found in a burned car Thursday.

Scott Robert Speakman, 27, formerly of Edgewood, was charged with the murder of Loyola Manalo Strader, shortly after being discovered at her home. He was being held without bond yesterday in a North Carolina County jail.

Authorities said yesterday they believe Speakman is the man shown in a video surveillance camera at a nearby business getting out of Strader's vehicle moments before it burst into flames. A preliminary autopsy indicated that Strader was strangled and suffered chest injuries.

Authorities were led to Speakman after discovering the burned car in Clemmons - a southwest suburb of Winston-Salem - early Thursday.

Authorities traced the vehicle to Strader's residence, where they encountered Speakman, who identified himself with an alias.

"He said he was a friend," said Capt. Brad Stanley of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, which has charge of the investigation. Fingerprints identified the man as Speakman.

"We found inconsistencies in his stories," said Stanley "He somewhat fit the description of what investigators observed on the videotape."

Speakman was released from the Maryland Correctional Training Center on June 7 after serving 12 years for the rape of a child in Harford County, but failed to register as a sex offender, Stanley said.

Before his arrest Thursday, the Harford County Sheriff's Office was conducting a regional search for Speakman.

"We are not sure where he has been since June and what prompted him to relocate to Forsyth County," Stanley said.

A spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office said that Speakman would not be extradited to Maryland.

"The primary offense here is the murder and the arson charge in North Carolina," Robert B. Thomas Jr., public information officer for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said yesterday. "That will take precedent."

Investigators have not determined how Speakman and Strader knew each other, according to Stanley, who said that Strader's death was the sixth this year in Winston-Salem.

Speakman is scheduled to make his first appearance in court this week. He is also charged with burning personal property - a felony - and a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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