‘He never caused any trouble’

Published 10:54 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

FRANKLIN—A fresh blanket of snow was not the only surprise that residents of Dorchester Square Apartments woke up to Friday morning. The news that William Curtis Futrell had been arrested in connection with an August double homicide rocked the reportedly close-knit community to the foundations of its modest brick buildings.

“He was always smiling and waving and laughing. He never caused any trouble,” said Laura Smallwood, who has multiple friends and family members living at Dorchester Square and is herself a frequent visitor to the apartment complex.

“I never saw him bother anybody,” Smallwood added. “He was always to himself.”

Futrell was living in the subsidized housing complex, according to neighbors, with a girlfriend and at least one child in an upstairs apartment.

Sharda Barham, who lives directly below Futrell’s apartment, held her 9-month-old daughter close Friday morning as she related her horror upon discovering Futrell’s arrest.

“I found that out on the news and I was like, ‘What in the world?’ He’s right on top of us,” Barham said as the pale, late morning light illuminated the closed blinds of her two-bedroom apartment.

Burnham described Futrell as a kind, quiet individual, who sometimes helped her bring in her groceries.

“He acted like a normal person,” she said. “I was shocked.”

Barham, who has lived in Dorchester Square since March, does, however, recall an incident involving Futrell that may be one of the only indications of possible violent tendencies.

Two months after Burham moved in, she said she heard a violent confrontation involving Futrell and his girlfriend.

“They got into a fight and it was terrible, ” said Barham. “There were doors slamming, blood in the hallway.”

Barham, who was alone with her infant daughter when the conflict took place, assumed that the incident was a domestic dispute.

“It was between them you know. The police came, and then she took him back. So I thought everything was OK,” Barham said.

Barham said she believes that Futrell’s girlfriend was unaware of his alleged crimes.

“I don’t even think she knew,” Barham said. “Last night she didn’t sleep. She stayed up all night. You could hear her walking back-and-forth.”

By Friday morning the white halls and deep green doors of the apartment building were eerily silent.

About four miles away, Linda Tuck, youngest sister to the slain victims, was less shocked by Thursday’s revelations than the residents of Dorchester Square.

“I’ve always thought for some reason thought that the murderer was from Franklin. I’ve been thinking of it ever since it happened,” she said.

Tuck’s inexplicable hunch cast a grim shadow over her once-safe existence.

“For a while there I was just kind of paranoid and I was afraid to stay home by myself,” she said. “Sometimes I’d go shopping and somebody would walk up to close behind me and I’d panic.

“It was very difficult but I got over that with a help of a lot of friends and a lot of family.”

At Friday’s arraignment proceedings, Futrell denied the charges being filed against him during brief remarks made to the press.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Tuck said, in response. “I expected that.”

Futrell, a Franklin resident, was formerly employed by Smithfield Packing Co. He worked for the company in the microwave bacon department from February 2008 to August of this year.