RIP Deborah Key

Defender still enters no plea for local man

Dalzell’s case fails to see any change

DAILY TARHEEL

BY EREN TATARAGASI

STAFF WRITER

December 01, 2004

The man being charged with murder in the disappearance of a Carrboro woman seven years ago had his case postponed again Tuesday after his public defender failed to enter a plea.

Andrew Douglas Dalzell was on the Orange County Superior Court calendar to appear on one charge of second-degree murder and three felony charges: obtaining property by false pretenses, financial identity fraud and larceny by an employee.

But public defender James Williams arrived in court Tuesday without obtaining discovery and without a plea.

Under state law, discovery is required to move forward with a case. The term includes statements, lab tests or anything that serves as evidence, said District Attorney Carl Fox.

The prosecution said it is in the process of sorting through boxes of discovery, which will take two weeks to complete.

Presiding judge Wade Barber Jr. scheduled Dalzell’s next appearance in Superior Court for Dec. 14.

Barber told the defense that on that day, it should enter its plea.

The defense Tuesday also filed a motion to suppress a statement made by Dalzell that has not yet been released. The motion is set to be heard Dec. 15.

Dalzell has been the primary suspect in the murder and disappearance of Deborah Leigh Key since she was last seen with him Dec. 1, 1997.

The two were last seen outside Sticks & Stones, a former pool hall in downtown Carrboro, after it closed at 2 a.m.

Police approached Dalzell in April after Key’s disappearance and executed a search of his 1990 Honda on April 3.

Officials found a bra, panties, various papers, two pieces of stained seat cover and hair and fiber tappings, but the evidence proved insufficient and no charge was made at the time.

Police continued to keep tabs on the suspect and got a break in the investigation Aug. 31, when Dalzell requested police assistance in moving things from his Carrboro apartment.

While there, police found objects linking him to a former employer, Huntgate’s Arts, Crafts & Hobbies at University Mall.

After police spoke with the store’s manager, a larceny report was filed and police were given a warrant to search Dalzell’s apartment, which led to his arrest Sept. 9 at a friend’s residence in Stanley.

Dalzell remains in custody at the Orange County Jail on a $70,000 secured bond for the murder charge. A separate charge of six counts of third-degree exploitation of a minor against him is still pending in district court.

What amazes me is that this story is primarily being kept afloat by a student newspaper.

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