Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Second man charged with murder of WKU student

By Lori Burling
The Associated Press

A man arrested for the murder of a Western Kentucky University student found in a smoldering dorm room told police he watched an acquaintance rape, beat and smother her, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday.

The affidavit filed in Allen County District Court also said freshman Katie Autry's breast and genital areas were sprayed with hairspray before she was apparently set on fire.

Stephen Soules, 20, of Scottsville was arrested late Monday and charged with murder, a day after Lucas Goodrum, 21, also of Scottsville was charged with the same crime in the May 7 death of Autry.

Autry's body was found in her Bowling Green dorm room with third-degree burns and puncture wounds and abrasions to her neck and face.

While the affidavit filed by the Kentucky State Police for a search warrant against Goodrum did not specifically say Autry was set on fire, a police citation filed Monday in Warren County District Court said an eyewitness watched Goodrum set her on fire.

The affidavit filed Tuesday said a towel had been used in an attempt to cover the sprinkler head in the room. Authorities said previously that the sprinkler system had extinguished the fire.

According to the affidavit, Dr. Thomas Deering, the assistant state medical examiner in Tennessee, said Autry "suffered third- and fourth-degree burns on her torso, the most severe being the vaginal area."

Deering also told police that Autry, 18, of Pellville suffered "bruised and swollen cheeks and eyes."

The affidavit said Soules beat Autry repeatedly and attempted to suffocate her with a pillow on May 4.

While investigators have said little about the case, the affidavit said the two men attended a party the night of May 3 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on the Bowling Green campus.

Friends have said Autry also attended the party.

The three had been drinking before the fire, said Western Kentucky University Police Chief Bob Deane.

While it was unclear how Soules and Goodrum knew Autry or how they got into her room, the affidavit said Soules watched Goodrum carry out the attack.

It did not say whether he participated in the attack, and it did not offer a motive.

The affidavit indicated police wanted to search Goodrum's car for keys to Autry's dorm room, cash and unidentified property and "property used in the rape and or assault" of Autry.

A judge entered not guilty pleas for both men, and they remain in the Warren County Regional Jail in lieu of $1 million cash bond each.

Authorities said Tuesday that Goodrum and Soules knew each other, but did not reveal a connection to Autry.

Neither Goodrum nor Soules were students at the university. However, both men attended Scottsville Allen County High School together.

Goodrum attended his freshman and senior years and graduated in 2000.

Soules withdrew from the school in March 2000, according to Larry Williams, superintendent for the Allen County School District.

While Goodrum's family has refused to comment, a source familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that he has ties to the family that founded Dollar General, a Fortune 500 company that has a chain of stores in 27 states.

After divorcing Goodrum's father, his mother - now Donna Dugas of Aubrey, Texas - married one of the grandsons of the late Cal Turner Sr., a Scottsville native who co-founded Dollar General with his father in 1939.

A message left at the couple's home was not returned Tuesday.

"We're aware of the circumstances but we are not commenting because it does not relate to business matters here at Dollar General," said Andrea Turner, spokeswoman for the corporation based in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

A message left at Soules' home was not returned Tuesday.

Numerous messages left at Goodrum's home and with his attorney, David Broderick of Bowling Green, also were not returned Tuesday.

An attorney with the Department of Public Advocacy will be appointed for Soules.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Mike Pearson, who is leading the state's case, would not say whether additional charges, such as rape or arson, would be filed.

The murder charges could carry the death penalty.

"The full gamut of charges applicable to these defendants would be considered at the time the case is presented to the grand jury," he said.

A preliminary hearing for both men was scheduled for May 19.

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