BELLINGHAM - A fugitive wanted for a first-degree murder warrant out of East Texas lived under the radar in Bellingham for years, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.
A man calling himself Billy Michael Dupree, 59, was arrested at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, near his home on Lakeway Drive, said Undersheriff Jeff Parks.
Until now, local police didn't realize Dupree was wanted - under an alias, Michael Maurice Dupree - for the 2009 killing of Paul Marshal, 72, in Van Zandt County, Texas.
The two men had been in a dispute shortly before the killing, Parks said. Marshal was found dead Sept. 10, 2009, facedown in a pool of drying blood, at a home about an hour's drive east of Dallas, according to TV news reports. Sheriff's deputies in Texas told media Dupree stole the dead man's van: a maroon 2003 Dodge, with silver stripes and Texas plates X02-NVF.
Before that, Dupree had served 15 years for an aggravated robbery in Dallas County.
Court records confirm Billy Michael Dupree, or Dupreey, has lived in Bellingham for at least two years. He was arrested several times in Whatcom County. But no nationwide warrants tipped off police to the murder charge.
On court paperwork stamped May 2012, Dupree signed the name "Billy," and gave the same birthday as the Michael Dupree wanted for the killing in Texas. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and obstructing law enforcement after threatening to shoot firefighters responding to an aid call.
Dupree was booked into the Whatcom County Jail again in late December for a probation violation.
Authorities in Van Zandt County learned of the connection and called the sheriff's office Thursday asking to have Dupree held in jail. But he'd already been released.
Deputies put his home at 1311 Lakeway under surveillance. He was arrested at 2:20 p.m. when he got off a bus.
Local detectives will assist in efforts to extradite him to Texas.
Officials at the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office did not return a reporter's phone call late Thursday.
ORIGINAL WANTED INFORMATION
A 2009 press memo from the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office includes photos of Dupree and the van.