Tips lead to arrest in slaying of Ark. TV anchor - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Tips lead to arrest in slaying of Ark. TV anchor

In this photo released by the Little Rock Police Department Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008, suspect Curtis Lavelle Vance is shown in Little Rock, Ark. Vance, of Marianna, Ark., is wanted for the murder of Little Rock television anchor Anne Pressly in October. In this photo released by the Little Rock Police Department Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008, suspect Curtis Lavelle Vance is shown in Little Rock, Ark. Vance, of Marianna, Ark., is wanted for the murder of Little Rock television anchor Anne Pressly in October.
Guy Cannady, father of Little Rock television news anchor Anne Pressly, is interviewed in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Little Rock police released the name of a suspect late Wednesday in the death Pressly. Guy Cannady, father of Little Rock television news anchor Anne Pressly, is interviewed in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Little Rock police released the name of a suspect late Wednesday in the death Pressly.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The phones began ringing at police headquarters soon after local television stations broadcast a picture of a man accused of killing a popular TV anchorwoman. Within an hour and a half, he was in custody.

Curtis Lavelle Vance, 28, of Marianna was being held at the Pulaski County Jail, awaiting arraignment Friday morning on a capital murder charge in the beating death of KATV anchor Anne Pressly. The 26-year-old anchorwoman died Oct. 25, five days after being severely beaten in what police described as a random attack at her home.

A police spokesman, Lt. Terry Hastings, said he did not know if Vance had an attorney. He said a public defender would likely be appointed to the case.

Vance was arrested Wednesday night at a home in central Little Rock after police held a news conference to name him as the suspect in Pressly's death. His picture soon aired on all the local news shows.

"We received several phone calls ... but this one turned out to be correct" about where Vance could be found, Police Chief Stuart Thomas said Thursday.

Valerie Cooper, the mother of Vance's girlfriend, Sheanika Cooper, told KATV that she learned of the charge Thursday morning and doesn't believe Vance committed the crime. She said he has "a real nice personality."

"He didn't give me no kind of hint or nothing. It shocked me," she said. "I don't want to believe he did something like that."

When police announced Wednesday that they were looking for Vance, they had said he might be with Sheanika Cooper and three children. But they was not with him when he was arrested later that day.

Police did not disclose what led them to suspect Vance.

Hastings had said previously that DNA and other evidence from the scene gave police a portrait of the person they were looking for, though they did not have a name until this month. One of Pressly's credit cards was used at a gas station after the beating, but Hastings said security camera footage didn't provide a good look at the person using it.

Hastings said Thursday that police would not disclose how they obtained DNA to match to a possible suspect. "We're going to be very tightlipped on this case, pre-trial," he said.

Vance was interviewed by officers for several hours late Wednesday and early Thursday, he said. Asked if Vance had made a formal statement, Hastings said: "He talked with detectives. I'll leave it at that."

Pressly's father, Guy Cannady, attended the news conference where Vance's picture was distributed by police.

"It's very difficult to look at the picture, just knowing what Anne went through, that that was the last guy that Anne saw in her life," he said before Vance's arrest.

Pressly's mother, who was visiting from out of town at the time of the attack but not staying at her daughter's home, found Pressly on Oct. 20, a half-hour before the anchorwoman was due on KATV's "Daybreak" program. The mother checked on her daughter after she didn't answer her daily wake-up call.

The anchorwoman had been beaten severely on the head and upper torso. She never regained consciousness.

Pressly appeared briefly in the Oliver Stone movie "W" as a conservative commentator who speaks favorably of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" event on an aircraft carrier after the start of the Iraq war. She got the part when she was noticed by a casting director as she did a news story on the film while it was being shot in Shreveport, La.

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