Fugitive Convicts Arrested After Shootout With Police
PETERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) _ Two convict cousins who evaded a weeklong manhunt after separate escapes shot it out with police Friday and were arrested. They are charged with two killings while free and are suspected of a third.
The shootout involving Billy Joe Hottle, 20, and Craig Swick, 23, occurred at a Petersburg car dealership, police said.
Hottle sustained gunshot wounds to the chin and thigh and was listed in fair condition Friday night at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. An employee of the dealership was treated at another hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg and released, authorities said.
The arrests came at the end of a weeklong manhunt and a day after the fugitives forced a Methodist minister, his wife and their 13-year-old granddaughter to drive them 200 miles. They went from Fayette County in southern West Virginia to Grant County, where the cousins are from in the eastern Panhandle.
The family members were released unharmed later Thursday after the drive.
In Petersburg, the fugitives tried to force a woman into a church at gunpoint, a witness said. They ran to the car dealership after she fled and summoned authorities, said Shelby Borror, a drugstore secretary.
Swick, serving time for burglary and grand larceny, walked away from a work release center on Aug. 15. Ten days earlier, Hottle escaped from a work camp where he was imprisoned for parole violations and grand larceny.
They were charged with a double slaying Monday. A car belonging to the slain couple was found outside the Fayette County home of Hottle’s girlfriend, Bev Layton, 21, authorities said. The cousins also are wanted in the fatal shooting of a convenience store clerk the same day.
Layton was in jail on charges of being an accessory to murder, harboring a fugitive and aiding and abetting a prisoner’s escape.
The fugitives spent much of the week hiding in Fayette County before they forced the Rev. Billy Cornell and his family members to drive to near Petersburg, said state police Sgt. Dale Payne.
The cousins approached the minister in his church with a gun and Cornell ″was told to cooperate,″ Payne said.