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Arrests made in Mount Pleasant killings after manhunt

Published January 17, 2012 11:01 am

A crime spree that left a couple dead and a woman seriously injured ended with the arrest of a man described as a drifter and a woman who has struggled with drugs, but questions linger for families and friends of victims and suspects.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

West Wendover, Nev. • What started as a erratic and deadly crime spree Dec. 29 ended without incident Tuesday after the pilot of a small plane spotted two people on foot in remote Nevada who turned out to be suspects in a Utah double murder and a kidnapping and shooting.

Angela Atwood, 25, and Logan McFarland, 24, were taken into custody at about 1:20 p.m. in a rural area of Elko County approximately 27 miles east of Wells, Nev., ending a two-day manhunt.

Elko County Commissioner and rancher Demar Dahl was flying the airplane, looking for his cattle in the area five miles south of Interstate 80 and two miles west of the Big Springs Ranch, when he spotted the pair, said West Wendover police Sgt. David Wiskerchen.

Dahl, who was aware of reports the pair had been in the area, radioed to a ground team made up of multiple agencies looking for McFarland and Atwood. They quickly zeroed in on their location. Atwood and McFarland were found by law enforcement officers walking on a mountainside, and seemed surprised as they were approached, said Wiskerchen.

But the two put the firearms they were carrying on the ground and surrendered peacefully.

They were not dressed for cold weather. McFarland was wearing sweatpants and no shirt, while Atwood was wearing sweatpants and a shirt, Wiskerchen said. The car they had fled in was found about four miles away.

McFarland was taken to the Elko County Jail, while Atwood was taken to an area hospital, according to an Elko County Sheriff's Office lieutenant.

At their home in Fairview, Angie Atwood's parents, Mike and Denise Atwood, hugged on their front porch when they heard of the arrests and that their daughter was safe.

"Oh, thank you, God," Denise Atwood said, crying.

"We had a gut feeling she was dead," Mike Atwood said moments later.

Police had been searching for the duo since Saturday, wanting to question them about the deaths of Leroy "Woody" and Dorotha Ann Fullwood, 70 and 69, who were found slain inside their Mount Pleasant home on New Year's Eve, and about an attempted carjacking just over the Utah state line in West Wendover.

The two were both charged in U.S. District Court on Tuesday with one count of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, and McFarland faces one count of burglary of a dwelling, a second-degree felony charge, in Utah's 6th District Court.

In an arrest affidavit briefly made public Tuesday morning in 6th District Court — it was later sealed — police paint a detailed picture of the crime spree that began Dec. 29 as McFarland allegedly drove around Mount Pleasant looking for a home to burglarize.

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Jim Wilberg said both suspects — whose relationship isn't clear — are drug users, and McFarland has previous arrests for burglary. Atwood has at least five aliases and has recently gone by the name of Angela Hill, police said.

"They're just the typical, I don't have any money, I'm going to take it from somebody," Wilberg said.

McFarland apparently selected the Fullwood home at random and, late Dec. 29 or early Dec. 30, had friends drop him off on a road behind the residence. It was then only a short walk through sage brush before he reached the home.

What exactly happened inside the home hasn't been made public, but the arrest affidavit alleges the home was ransacked, the contents of cupboards and closets "strewn" around the home. By the time, McFarland left, both Fullwoods were dead, slain inside their own home, documents state.

Friends then picked McFarland up about 1:30 a.m. near the Fullwoods' home, Wilberg said. He said it did not appear that Atwood was involved in the slayings, but became involved in the crime spree after the fact.

Atwood's parents believe she was an unwilling participant in the entire crime spree.

"I believe that Logan has held her hostage, that he has held her so scared that she hasn't been able to do anything but follow him," Denise Atwood said.

The Atwoods acknowledged their daughter has been addicted to methamphetamine and heroin, but Denise Atwood said her daughter has been clean for about 1½ years.

Angela Atwood has been engaged to a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and the couple lived in a rental home next door to her parents.

Denise Atwood showed pictures of the engaged couple taken on Christmas Day. Mike Atwood said that was the last time he saw his daughter.

On Thursday or Friday, Mike Atwood said, his daughter called him to say she was breaking up with her fiancée. The call ended without an explanation for the breakup.

Mike Atwood called his daughter back three times. The third time, Mike Atwood said, McFarland answered. Mike Atwood said McFarland "got smart" with him and Mike Atwood threatened to come find him and his daughter.

"He said I'd be looking down a scope if I did," Mike Atwood said.

Mike Atwood said that was the only time he has spoken with McFarland and has never seen him.

Denise Atwood said she has never spoken to or seen McFarland. They believe Angela Atwood met McFarland through friends.

"I can't picture Angie doing this," Mike Atwood said. "We don't even own a gun."

Friends and court records both indicate McFarland was a drifter, moving from home to home frequently, never really putting down roots.

One friend said McFarland, who he described as emotionally unstable, moved back to Sanpete County to be closer to his brother.

When asked why McFarland might have done these things he is accused of, his mother, Sheron East, said, "Because he was on drugs."

She and Willard East, McFarland's stepfather, said his drug use became apparent about six months to a year ago.

Before then, they say he was a well-behaved young man who went to church and was never in any trouble.

"The kid tried the wrong kind of drug and it ruined peoples' lives, including ours now," said Willard East. "We're so sorry for that family."

The Easts weren't sure which drug McFarland was allegedly using, but believe it might have been methamphetamine.

Sheron East last saw her son on Christmas Eve.

"He was quiet and tired and not really talkative at all," she said. "... It's got to be the drugs. Logan's never been a violent person."

The Easts repeatedly emphasized how sorry they were for the Fullwood family and for Rattana Lirange, the woman who police say McFarland and Atwood attempted to carjack in West Wendover.

They said they were glad the fugitives were captured.

"He needs what's coming to him," said Willard East. "We're believers in justice"

When she next sees her son, Sharon East said she intends to ask him, "How could you do this?"

When the alleged crime spree started, McFarland had been staying with a friend at a Moroni home, Wilberg said. The arrest affidavit alleges that McFarland and Atwood borrowed a Plymouth Breeze that was at the Moroni house and drove it to the Santaquin area before abandoning it.

The duo then allegedly stole a Saturn Ion from an Interstate 15 park-and-ride lot on the east side of Santaquin and drove it to West Wendover, where they attempted to exchange it with the vehicle driven by 35-year-old Lirange.

Authorities allege Atwood approached Lirange as she was getting into her vehicle outside the Red Garter Casino and forced her into the passenger seat and took control of her vehicle.

But as they started driving, Lirange fought back, biting Atwood's neck, ear and forcing Atwood out of her vehicle.

As Lirange tried to drive away, Atwood allegedly fired a shot at Lirange's vehicle. Lirange was struck in the head by a bullet and taken to a Salt Lake City hospital for treatment, according to the affidavit.

She has been upgraded from critical condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

Mike Daniels said Tuesday he couldn't believe the news when he heard his boss had been shot in the head, the victim of an apparent random carjacking.

Lirange had started the West Wendover gym Animal House with her husband and was close-knit with her clientele, said Daniels, a trainer at the gym.

"She's a giving and generous person. I ask her for help and she's right there to help. It's a real tragedy for this community," said Daniels.

Daniels said he hadn't yet spoken to Lirange, but other employees at Animal House had spoken with her husband, who reported good news about her recovery.

"She's doing OK. She's able to talk and move around a little bit," Daniels said.

After the failed carjacking, the two drove the Saturn Ion to Wells, Nev., where they allegedly stole a Volkswagen Jetta.

They later used that vehicle to evade capture during a high speed chase down Interstate 80 in Nevada.

After authorities discovered the deserted Saturn Ion, they allegedly found a Del Taco receipt inside. The meal was allegedly paid for using the Fullwoods' credit or debit card, the warrant shows.

Authorities have previously said a receipt found in the stolen car led them to the Fullwoods' remains.

Friends of McFarland said before the slayings, McFarland had told them he wanted to head to Las Vegas or to California, but had no idea he would even consider embarking on an alleged crime spree to do so.

McFarland's prior criminal history in Utah is minimal, according to court records.

Last July, McFarland was charged by Sanpete County prosecutors with one count of third-degree felony burglary for stealing copper welding leads from an Ephraim business and selling them to a recycling center.

McFarland later pleaded guilty in 6th District Court to a lesser count of class A misdemeanor theft by receiving stolen property.

On Oct. 19, Judge Wallace Lee sentenced the defendant to 30 days in the Sanpete County jail, but he was given credit for time served and McFarland was released the same day.

In another case, McFarland was charged in August in Draper City's justice court with one count of class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

In September, the city prosecutor dismissed the case. The court docket does not give a reason for the dismissal.

State court records show Atwood's criminal history includes several misdemeanors and incidents connected to domestic violence.

She was charged in Washington County Justice Court in October 2004 with two class B misdemeanors, harboring a minor without permission and contributing to the delinquency to the minors. Both cases were dismissed in September 2007.

A court docket from that case indicates her parents called the court several times with concerns about her whereabouts and that she was "not in good company." Court documents also state that Atwood used five alias, and in one case, a woman whose name she stole was wrongfully arrested on an outstanding warrant for Atwood.

Atwood was also charged Washington County Justice Court in July 2007 with class B criminal mischief. Court documents state that the crime was related to domestic violence. She pleaded guilty and paid $387 in fines.

Atwood's most recent misdemeanor charge is in the Salt Lake City Justice Court, where in May 2010 she was charged with class B misdemeanor retail theft. She failed to appear in court in August on the charges and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Roger Bailey of Fairview, McFarland's uncle, said he didn't expect the news of the alleged crimes to involve his "well-mannered" nephew.

"It shocked the hell out of me, when I heard about it," Bailey said.

Bailey said McFarland's actions are completely out of character and that he is a "pleasant, kind, considerate, and likable guy. He would go out of his way to help anybody."

In a statement from Fullwood family members, they expressed appreciation to friends, neighbors and the community for their love and support.

"Words cannot express how much our parents will be missed," the statement said. "We are so proud to be their children and their legacy here on earth. They were kind and loving people who cared deeply for everyone — family, friends and strangers alike."

The family thanked all of the agencies and law enforcement officials who worked to solve the case. Funeral services were pending.


Twitter @sltribjanelle

Stephen Hunt and Cimaron Neugebauer contributed to this report. —

More arrests

Police have arrested two other people in connection with the Mount Pleasant murders.

Damien Flores, who court documents say contacted police with information about the murders, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of obstructing justice, burglary and evidence tampering. Documents say he burned items taken from the Fullwood home before calling police.

Police also arrested Allison Boudreaux on suspicion of drug possession. A search warrant said she owned the home where Logan McFarland attended a party the night of the killings.






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