Thursday, October 01, 2009
Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Three People
By Felicia Fonseca
ST. JOHNS, Ariz. — An Arizona man who confessed to killing three people and pronounced himself a serial killer told authorities he committed the crimes because one man shot a dog, he didn't want the second to hurt anyone else and his attempts to get a 16-year-old off drugs failed.
William Inmon of Springerville faces prison sentences of 25 years to life on each of three counts of first-degree murder. Authorities said the 21-year-old's killing spree started in April 2007 with 72-year-old William "Stoney" McCarragher, continued with 60-year-old Daniel Achten nearly two years later and ended with the death of teenager Ricky Flores in August.
Inmon pleaded guilty to the murders on Wednesday.
Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting said Thursday that Inmon's overwhelming motive in the murders was that he wanted to rid society of less-than-desirable people. He told authorities he would have continued his vigilante killing spree had he not been caught.
Authorities said Thursday that money and guns also were motives.
Inmon's attorney, Albert Lassen said in a statement Thursday that his client agreed to cooperate with authorities only if the death penalty was taken off the table. Prosecutors agreed.
McCarragher was the first known of Inmon's victims, but authorities say they are investigating whether he might be involved in at least two other murders.
McCarragher lived on a small rural ranch outside of St. Johns and was known to carry large amounts of money, sometimes thousands of dollars. In court documents, those interviewed by investigators said McCarragher was a "potty mouth" and was rough on kids. He also had a criminal history of sex offenses under an alias, according to court documents.
Inmon, who was considered a potential suspect at the time, denied fatally shooting McCarragher and said, "the whole town is suspect because a lot of people did not care for Stoney."
Inmon recently confessed to the murder, saying he did not want McCarragher to violate anyone else.
Achten, who had been missing for five months before his remains were discovered in a shallow grave on his rural property outside of St. Johns last week, was a Vietnam veteran who locals said couldn't hear well. He was known to some as "Hummer Dan," because he was constantly humming, Apache County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Guinn said.
The gangly Inmon told authorities that Achten used drugs, shot his longtime dog and generally mistreated people, so he believed he had a duty to rid society of him.
Authorities said Inmon was proud of committing the murders of Achten and McCarragher, but was remorseful about the death of Flores, whom he killed with a single shotgun blast.
Springerville Police Chief Steve West said Inmon initially claimed that Flores' had threatened him with a firearm and he acted in self-defense. He eventually confessed and broke down in tears — one of only three moments when he showed real emotion, West said.
Inmon told authorities he wanted Flores to change his life, and authorities believe drugs were the issue.
The latest confessions are likely to further shake up the tiny town of St. Johns where violent killings had been rare. Last November, a then 8-year-old was charged with fatally shooting his father and his father's roommate. He pleaded guilty to the roommate's death and prosecutors dropped charges against him in his father's death. The boy, now 9, is awaiting sentencing.
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