AP: Rainbow Slayings (1980/WVa)

Marcus L. Endicott (mendicott@igc.apc.org)
Fri, 15 Jan 1993 04:29:46 -0800 (PST)

Copyright, 1993. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

MARLINTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A grand jury indicted five men Wednesday in the
1980 slayings of two women who were abducted and killed as they hitchhiked to
a counterculture gathering.
The men, each indicted on two counts of murder by a Pocahontas County grand
jury, are accused in the June 1980 slayings of Vicki Durian, 26, of Wellman,
Iowa, and Nancy Santomero, 19, of Huntington, N.Y.
The women were on their way to a gathering of the Rainbow Family, a loosely
linked counterculture group that holds annual meetings in southeastern West
Their bodies were found in a field about 70 miles east of Charleston. Both
were shot several times at close range. Neither was sexually assaulted,
according to a coroner's report.
The five were also indicted on one count each of conspiracy to abduct with
intent to defile, said special prosecutor Walt Weiford. That charge implies a
crime of sexual nature.
"This is kind of a dark cloud that has hung over the county for a long time
and hopefully, finally at the end of this process it will be able to come to
rest," Weiford said.
The five indicted men are Jacob Beard, Gerald Brown, William McCoy, Richard
Fowler, and Arnold Cutlip, Weiford said.
They were ordered to report for arraignment Jan. 21, and will be arrested
if they don't, Weiford said.
Although investigators believed they knew what happened, problems kept
cropping up during the investigation that delayed any indictments, Weiford
said. Recanted confessions and charges of police bullying witnesses were
among the problems that have been cited as plaguing the case.
Charges were filed in April against seven people, including the five
indicted Wednesday. But Weiford ordered the charges dropped several weeks
later, saying there were questions about whether state police coerced one
defendant into making a false confession.
He refused to discuss the latest charges in detail.

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