Denver Post, August 15, 1998

Teen arrested in preacher slayings
Religious Mom says "He got whippings. He got the whole works."

By Marilyn Robinson and Peter G. Chronis

Aug. 15 - A teenager suspected in the slayings of two ministers meekly surrendered Friday after police trapped him in an Aurora motel room - even though he'd reportedly vowed never to be taken alive.

Terrance Wilder, 17, walked out of his room at the Top Star Motel with his hands up and was taken into custody around 11:20 a.m. An anonymous caller had tipped Denver police but had pleaded, "please don't kill him.''

Wilder is a suspect in the Aug. 8 killings of Joel England, 24, and Roderick Marable, 38, at an Arapahoe County rental home owned by England. Both men were shot, and England was also bludgeoned with a bat. One of England's tenants, 20year-old Natalie Murdock, was arrested in the slayings Wednesday.

Authorities suspect Murdock arranged for Wilder to kill her estranged husband, Arthur, and that England and Marable were killed by mistake.

"My God, they got him for murder?'' Wilder's mother, Cynthia Currie of Brownsville, Tenn., said when told of her son's arrest by a Denver Post reporter. "It's shocking to me. The thought about shooting somebody - that's shocking. I don't get it.''

Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan said Wilder has admitted involvement in certain aspects of the crime during interviews conducted in the presence of his father, Joseph. "He puts himself at the scene,'' Sullivan said.

Natalie Murdock and Wilder are blaming each other, Sullivan said.

"We do have finger-pointing between those two individuals,'' he said.

The investigation so far indicates Wilder did the killings, Sullivan said. But Murdock "engineered everything.''

England, who was an associate pastor at Galilee Baptist Church, had been married just a few weeks before he was killed. Marable, his friend, was a lay minister at the Heritage Christian Center. The pair had gone to the Murdock home to talk about a pending eviction of the couple.

Services for Marable will be held today at noon at the Heritage Christian Center, at 9495 E. Florida Ave. England's funeral was Thursday.

"There is a common theme in Rod's life,'' Marable's family said in a statement issued Friday. "The legacy he is leaving is a legacy of love. . . . Rod loved his natural family, he loved his church family, he loved his friends - he even loved his enemies.''

Wilder's mother said he moved to Denver in the spring to live with his father after getting into trouble at his high school in Brownsville.

A self-described Christian evangelical, she said she gave him a strict upbringing but that he had recently begun to rebel against her.

"He wasn't even allowed to leave my yard when it turned dark,'' Currie said. "He's never been too big for me to discipline. He got whippings. He got the whole works.''

Gordon Perry, principal of Haywood High School in Brownsville, said that despite some discipline problems at the school Wilder had never shown any tendency to violence.

"What has happened would be completely out of character,'' Perry said. "I would not have expected this in 100 years of Terrance.''

But Sheriff Sullivan said Wilder began hanging around with "gangbangers'' after moving here. He had also become romantically involved with a niece of Natalie Murdock's, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said authorities may arrest an additional suspect in the case.

The anonymous tip telling police to go to the Top Star Motel at 10890 E. Colfax Ave. came to Denver police Detective Manny Alvarez.

"It sounded like someone who knew him because he was very concerned that police might kill him,'' Alvarez said. "I assured him that wasn't our intention, that we would have enough people to effect the arrest safely.''

After officers from several metro area police agencies surrounded the motel and evacuated nearby rooms, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Keller called Wilder.

"The kid answered,'' Alvarez said. "He was alone. Keller told him we were there and the motel was surrounded and that he should come out with his hands up, and that's precisely what he did.''

Wilder seemed calm, Alvarez said. Authorities said he was unarmed but couldn't say if a gun had been found later.

Motel owner Ernest Casimer said Wilder wasn't the man who rented the $39-a-day room about 3 p.m. Thursday. That man was in his 30s, stood 6-feet-2 and showed a photo ID. Wilder "must have snuck in,'' he said.

The man was driving a green four-door Ford Taurus, he said.

"I was upset,'' Casimer said. "I could have went in there, and who knows what might have happened.''

Casimer said that he was about to go to the room about getting paid for an additional day.

"The police dropped by and told me to get out of the way,'' said Casimer.

"He (Wilder) came out with his hands up when the police told him the place was surrounded. There was no hassle.''

He said that Wilder seemed to have a resigned expression.

"To me, it looked like it was "They finally got me, so there's no sense fighting,' '' Casimer said.

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