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New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
December 17, 1994
(PHOTO) By MARK HAYWARD Union Leader Correspondent
In the process of yet another violent crime, authorities say, the Swanzey man accused of robbing, abducting and raping a store clerk in Keene was gunned down Thursday night by two Pennsylvania state troopers. William R. Evans, 30, died at 6 p.m. at a motel in the small city of Chambersburg, Pa.
Pennsylvania authorities say the shootout occurred while Evans was in the middle of a robbery, and that he had threatened to abduct a clerk or guest from the Comfort Inn in Chambersburg, a city of 17,000 about 15 miles north of the Maryland state line.
His death came about 24 hours after a clerk at a lingerie store in Keene said he robbed her at gunpoint, abducted her and took her to his Swanzey home, where he bound her and subjected her to gross sexual abuse. Locally, police said Evans’ death closes the case.
The husband of the 32-year-old victim was ”very grateful and very thankful” when he was told about the outcome, said Swanzey Police Chief Larss Ogren.
”All of a sudden, it just totally eliminates the fear of even a remote possibility of this person jumping back into their life,” Ogren said, and it also means that the victim and her family won’t be subjected to testimony during a trial. ”All that weight is lifted from her shoulders and she can get on in working through issues” related to the attack, he said.
Police say Evans got $220 from his Keene robbery and was likely out of money when he pulled into the Comfort Inn Thursday. Chambersburg, which is off Interstate 81, is about 475 miles from New Hampshire.
Two clerks interviewed by the newspaper there, the Public Opinion, said Evans pestered them for about 90 minutes, hanging around the lobby and complaining he was bored. He tried to talk the manager into walking upstairs with him to unlock his door, they said.
He also stared down motel employees and peeked into the room of a guest, telling him, ”You’re stupid to keep your door unlocked,” the paper reported. When he started to rob the manager, a clerk in an adjacent room heard him and summoned police, authorities said.
Evans threatened guests with a gun, which turned out to be a CO-2 replica of a handgun, according to a release from the Pennsylvania State Police, and he claimed to have wired the hotel to a bomb. He waved around what looked like a pocket-size flashlight and claimed it was a detonator, the paper reported.
”He did finally say to me he didn’t want to hurt anybody. He just wanted to take the money and go,” manager Tabitha Kocher said. ”He never lost his temper, he never got angry.”
He sent clerk Linda Strock to his second-floor room to get his belongings. She again called police from his room. State troopers confronted Evans, who had a gun in his hand, in a stairway, state police reported in a release. ”During the confrontation, the two responding officers fired four rounds, fatally wounding Evans,” it said.
During an administrative investigation into the shooting, the two troopers, Cpls. John Ford III and Steve O. McDaniel, will be placed on station duties. That complies with state police regulations. Several hotel guests interviewed by the Public Opinion said Evans’ gun appeared too big to be real and looked like a toy. But Ogren called it a ”.45-caliber lookalike.”
”When you respond to calls like that and somebody points something like that, you don’t have time to figure if it was a pellet gun or something that fires rockets,” Ogren said.
Yesterday, more aspects of Evans and his crimes in New Hampshire surfaced. Court papers show police confiscated four copies of pornographic magazines that depict sexual partners in bondage, and Ogren said Evans, described by most who knew him as quiet and pleasant, had been diagnosed with the psychotic disease of schizophrenia. Ogren said the disease resulted in his acquittal of charges of robbery, auto theft and abduction in South Carolina in 1990.
Prescription drugs, including the controversial drug Prozac, also were found at his home, Ogren said. Many have deemed Prozac a miracle drug for battling depression. But critics say it can work in reverse and instead of calming people down make them snap.
A police affidavit filed in Keene District Court said his victim told police Evans did not beat her inside the store, but wielded a switchblade and a ”long knife with a long handle.” ”I’m sorry I couldn’t fight him,” she sobbed to police at the hospital Wednesday night. ”I wanted to see my little boy again. I didn’t want him to grow up without a mom.”
Evans also threatened her family and stole her purse, which contained her address, Ogren said, and that prompted police to immediately dispatch an officer to her home to protect the family. Evans also fabricated a bomb threat in the New Hampshire incident. After assaulting the woman, court papers say, Evans told her not to try to leave the house because it was booby-trapped. He left her in the basement, bound and covered her with a sleeping bag.
Evans’ mother would not talk to the press when contacted yesterday. Ogren said Kathleen Evans was ”visibly shaken” when told by him and a Roman Catholic priest that her son had been fatally shot. In Pennsylvania, an autopsy was performed on Evans, said Trooper Lucien R. Southard. Results were not available.
Copyright 1994, 2002 Union Leader Corp.
Record Number: 0F5450B82DEEAD73