Suspected Killer Nabbed Near Va. Tech Campus

Suspect allegedly escaped from hospital, killing guard and sheriff's deputy


After a massive manhunt that shut down the Virginia Tech campus on the first day of classes, police on Monday captured an escapee suspected in the slayings of a hospital guard and a sheriff's deputy.

Police Lt. Joe Davis could not provide additional details on William Morva's arrest.

Morva, 24, had escaped from a hospital where he had been taken for treatment of a sprained wrist and ankle early Sunday. He had been jailed while awaiting trial on charges of attempting to rob a store last year and apparently shed his orange prison jumpsuit after escaping.

Virginia Tech Vice President Kurt Krause canceled classes for the school's more than 25,000 students shortly after the first day of the semester had started.

Authorities said Morva was spotted wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and khaki shorts, helping him to blend in with other students.

"It's very scary," said sophomore Kelly Engbersen of Williamsburg. "Every person you see you look hard (and wonder) - 'Is that him?'"

As police sirens wailed to signal the arrest, shopkeepers in this college town celebrated the end of the tense search.

"Hallelujah. I'm ready for life to go back to normal," said Paula Bolte, who had put a sign in her grocery store to welcome students back to campus.

School officials sent e-mail warnings telling students and staff to get inside and stay there. During the search, dump trucks and police cruisers blocked roads leading to campus, and sharpshooters were posted on campus rooftops.

Akio Robrecht, 27, of Blacksburg, said Morva was a couple years behind him in school. Morva "seemed like a nice, quiet kid," he said. "It's kid of hard to believe."

Earlier in the day, Sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin was closing in on Morva along a trail just off the 2,600-acre campus when Sutphin was fatally shot, the sheriff's department said.

According to police, Morva overpowered another sheriff's deputy at the hospital, took the deputy's gun and then shot an unarmed hospital security guard. The guard was identified as Derrick McFarland, 26. The deputy was in stable condition with injuries he suffered in the attack.

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Associated Press writer Michael Felberbaum in Richmond and Dionne Walker in Blacksburg contributed to this report.


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