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Fugitive Socialite Arrested After Six Years On The Run

April 23, 1988

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ A socialite dubbed the ″fugitive temptress″ who allegedly seduced her lover into arranging her husband’s murder, then ran away with another man, also captivated the investigator assigned to hunt her down.

But for different reasons.

Mary Naomi Cloud, 45, formerly of Princeton, was apprehended late Thursday in Kennewick, Wash., after spending six years running from charges that she killed her husband.

″Well, she finally spent a night in jail. I waited a long time for this,″ a jubilant Don Meadows, an investigator for the Mercer County prosecutors office, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph before heading back to West Virginia today with Mrs. Cloud in custody.

Meadows said he and other authorities captured Mrs. Cloud as she tried to slip out the back door of her house. Authorities traveled to Washington after receiving a tip.

″She looked totally shocked,″ he said. ″She was very upset. She didn’t say a word to me after we arrested her. Just gave me the dirty looks she used to give me before.″

Mrs. Cloud was charged with being a fugitive during a hearing Friday, said Benton County (Wash.) Sheriff Jim Kennedy. Bond was set at $100,000 and she waived extradition proceedings, officials said.

She had been charged with first-degree murder of her husband, David, who was gunned down in the yard of their home as the couple returned from a dinner party in Bluefield on Jan. 26, 1980. David Cloud, 56, was vice president of Carter Machinery Co.

Authorities allege Mrs. Cloud lured her boyfriend at the time, John Elmer Corprew Jr. of Roanoke, Va., into the plot to kill her husband, and Corprew in turn paid George Guthrie II of Roanoke $2,500 to be the triggerman.

Corprew testified that Mrs. Cloud ″was like a spider and I was caught in her web.″

Corprew was sentenced to one to five years in prison for voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea bargain and was released after eight months. Guthrie was convicted of first-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court, but he was convicted of the same charge and received the same sentence again.

Mrs. Cloud contended that her husband was shot in the face by a masked robber who emerged from the darkness as they returned from the dinner party. Mercer County Prosecutor David Knight said he became suspicious of her story, questioning why the man hadn’t robbed their house, why Mrs. Cloud had been spared and why the assailant fled without taking any valuables.

After she was indicted, Mrs. Cloud moved to Huntington, where she worked as a car saleswoman and became romantically involved with Bernie D. Stanley, authorities said. She and Stanley fled just before her trial was to begin on May 17, 1982, officials said.

Mrs. Cloud had put up as her bond a $50,000 building she owed in Princeton, but prosecutors said she sold the building before fleeing.

Meadows said West Virginia authorities showed neighbors pictures from Mrs. Cloud’s wanted poster and staked out her house once they determined the tip was accurate.

Authorities nabbed Mrs. Cloud as she tried to walk out the back door while her boyfriend talked to police at the front door, Meadows said. Stanley was not arrested and faces no charges, he said.