Case still brings up questions

Published 8:56 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

We would hope the family of Dorothy Hobbs and Nellie Bradley feels some relief after a Franklin man on Thursday admitted to killing the Emporia sisters four years ago.

The guilty plea from William Curtis Futrell in Hertford County Superior Court in Winton, N.C., means Futrell will never be a free man.

It also means he is taking responsibility for the terribly senseless stabbing deaths of the sisters, who hours earlier were seen dropping off a donation for Relay for Life at Boykins Baptist Church.

Futrell’s decision to admit to two counts of first-degree murder also will save taxpayers the cost of a jury trial.

Of course, there’s something in it for the 36-year-old killer. The plea bargain means the prosecution will not seek the death penalty but that Futrell will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.

One cannot help but wonder what happened on Aug. 4, 2006 — the day Hobbs, 74, and Bradley, 71, were killed.

Their sister, Linda Tuck of Franklin, believes because her sisters were such caring individuals, perhaps they picked up Futrell that day because he was in need of help.

He has never given a motive for the killings.

When found dead along a farm lane, the women still had what little money they had before starting their trip, and both were wearing their jewelry.

Futrell’s criminal record in North Carolina and Virginia doesn’t paint the picture of a terribly violent man.

According to online records from North Carolina Department of Corrections, Futrell was convicted on May 5, 2000, for speeding and driving while license revoked in Hertford County. A little over one year later, he was convicted of writing a worthless check in Martin County.

Fifty-one days before the murder, he received a suspended sentence for a felony grand larceny in Franklin. Futrell in November 2007 was found not guilty of misdemeanor assault in Franklin.

From what we can tell, none of these were terribly violent crimes, yet Hobbs and Bradley experienced terribly violent deaths at the hands of this man.

Guess we will never know what happened that day. It’s just such a shame.