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Escaped Murder Suspect Captured at Statesville Motel

July 13, 1988

STATESVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A prison escapee wanted for allegedly taking part in a Florida murder spree was captured unarmed Wednesday at a motel here, authorities said.

More than a dozen police officers and FBI agents surrounded the Scottish Inn on Wednesday afternoon after receiving a tip that 29-year-old Michael G. Lovette had checked into the motel, said Police Chief James D. Myers.

Lovette surrendered peacefully after detectives called him on the house phone, Myers said. He was taken to the Statesville Police Department, he said.

Lovette and Thomas Anthony Wyatt, 24, are considered ″prime suspects″ in the killings of three workers at a pizza shop in Vero Beach, Fla., on May 17, and the killing of a Tampa woman whose body was found near Vero Beach on May 20, said correction department spokesman David Guth. All four victims had been shot in the head, he said.

The two also are charged in warrants for an armed robbery and kidnapping in Greenville, S.C., and another armed robbery in Holly Hill, Fla., Guth said.

Wyatt was captured Thursday in Lancaster, S.C., and is being held without bond in Lancaster County jail.

Myers said he did not know if Lovette would be transferred to another facility or if he would be taken to Florida for questioning.

Police had issued a nationwide alert for the pair after they escaped May 13 while working on a road crew of the minimum-security Wilkes County Prison Unit.

Lovette had been serving a 15-year sentence for breaking and entering and larceny committed in 1984, Guth said. Wyatt was serving a 15-year sentence for second-degree kidnapping, assault, inflicting serious injury and robbery in a string of crimes that began in August 1986, he said.

″We had received information ... that (Lovette) might come back to this general region,″ Myers said. Lovette lived in Statesville and has an uncle there, he said.

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