Woman killed; suspect charged

Aug. 27, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: William Small was arrested in the fourth homicide this year in Vance County.

The Vance County Sheriff’s Office charged a Henderson man in the county’s fourth homicide of the year.

William J. Small, 42, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge Sunday around 12:30 p.m. after sheriff deputies discovered 58-year-old Gwendolyn Leake dead in her home at 125 Bearpond Road, Lot 4.

Sheriff Peter White said deputies responded to her home around 12:56 a.m. Sunday.

Leslie Leake, the victim’s sister, placed the 911 call when she did not answer the phone, according to a press release.

White said it appeared she died from severe head trauma but did not disclose the murder weapon.

Small, of 125 Bearpond Road, Lot 3, was also charged with being a habitual felon and larceny of a motor vehicle, which belonged to the victim.

He has no bond for the murder charge.

His bond for the two other charges was set at $100,000 and has a court hearing Sept. 25.

White said his office is investigating the connection between Small and Gwendolyn Leake, and the motive is not yet known.

“We know that they were neighbors,” he said, adding that is all he knows about their relationship.

Small has an extensive criminal record in Vance County.

He was convicted of common-law robbery in the early 1990s.

In May 2000, he was convicted of multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and felony breaking and entering, and he served more than five years in prison.

Small was most recently convicted of felony larceny of more than $1,000. For this offense, he spent more than two years in prison. He was released Feb. 27, 2012.

The first shooting death of the year in Vance County was Jan. 13 when 51-year-old Edward Proffitt, of 179 Wendy Court, Henderson, killed 19-year-old David Harris, who died of three gunshot wounds to the chest.

The second took place March 24 when 55-year-old Ahmed Shahit was shot during a robbery while he was working at the BP station at 615 Raleigh Road, Henderson.

Diaquan Jameek Waddell and Marvin Hargrove Jr. are charged with the murder of Shahit.


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.