August 21, 2006
What was supposed to be the first day of classes for Virginia Tech students turned into a manhunt for a murderer. The victim even had ties to our area.
Authorities caught 24-year-old William Charles Morva Monday afternoon, putting at ease local law enforcement, the community, and the entire university.
Morva had been on the run since early Sunday, when he tried to escape from guards at a hospital in Blacksburg. He allegedly overpowered a sheriff's deputy and killed an unarmed hospital security guard in the process, 26-year-old Derrick McFarland.
Later, Montgomery County Sheriff's Corporal Eric Sutphin was closing in on Morva's location Monday morning in Blacksburg when he was also shot and killed.
"Eric was a true professional, dedicated to the service of the citizens of Montgomery County," said Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Witt. "He will be sorely missed."
Sutphin's shooting death led to an all-day manhunt that ended around 3:30 p.m. on Monday when police found Morva hiding underneath a brier patch just 150 yards from the scene.
"The brush is very thick through there and they came upon Mr. Morva underneath some brush. He was challenged; he did not resist coming out from underneath the brush," explained Blacksburg Interim Police Chief Kim Crannis.
All the police activity surrounding Virginia Technical University prompted officials to cancel the first day of classes and urge all students and faculty to stay inside. After all of the mayhem, students said they were happy to be going back to class on Tuesday.
"I feel a lot safer," said Freshman Angela Smith. "I definitely feel better walking around campus now. Obviously I'm out, so I feel a lot better."
"Back at home is a really small town, no really any high crime rate or anything," explained another student. "You don't really see this type of stuff."
Morva is being charged with capital murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, felonious assault on a police officer, and an escaping charge. These are all charges stemming from Sunday's incident at the hospital, and the death of Derrick McFarland. Charges are still pending on Monday's death of Cpl. Eric Sutphin.