BERRYVILLE — Olivia Franklin Bowers recalled the fear in homicide victim’s William Todd Anderson’s voice as he was beaten during a drug robbery in his home on March 26, 2017.
“The only thing I remember is Todd yelling, ‘No! No!,’ and I thought they were hurting him,” Franklin Bowers testified on Monday in Clarke County Circuit Court on the first day of the trial of Michael Ivory Curry, one of three men accused of killing Anderson. “I could hear it in his voice. He was scared.”
Curry’s murder trial could last up to two weeks.
Franklin Bowers, who went by Olivia Franklin Pitcock when the killing occurred, was living with Anderson in his home at 19414 Blue Ridge Mountain Road. She testified that she had smoked crack cocaine prior to the robbery, and Anderson, a 38-year-old father and master electrician who grew up in Bluemont, had done heroin.
Late on the night of March 26 as they sat in the living room, Franklin Bowers said three men wearing masks or bandannas smashed open the front door to the home, screaming that they were from a police drug task force. The first robber entering the home carried a semi-automatic rifle.
Anne Williams, county commonwealth’s attorney, said after the hearing that Curry struck Anderson in the head with the rifle. In a search warrant affidavit, police said a jailhouse informant told them Curry said he got angry at Anderson for refusing to divulge the combination to a safe in the home and “stomped the guy in the head several times, but thought he was breathing when he left.”
Franklin Bowers testified that while she lay face down in the living room with one of the robbers guarding her, the other two took Anderson into the bedroom where the safe containing marijuana was located. When Anderson refused to reveal the combination to the safe, he was beaten. Franklin Bowers said when the robbers demanded the combination from her, she told them it was in Anderson’s wallet in the jeans that he’d been wearing earlier.
During the robbery, Franklin Bowers said the man guarding her yelled into the bedroom for his accomplices to hurry up and referred to one of them by the initial B or D.
B is the first initial of suspect Blake Anthony Munk’s first name. The other suspect charged with murder is William Edward Freeman. William Scott Smallwood has been charged with burglary and robbery.
After opening the safe, the robbers then duct-taped Anderson and Franklin Bowers to chairs, took their phones and car keys, as well as Anderson’s cash, and fled. Franklin Bowers said they quickly freed themselves, and she put towel papers on Anderson’s gaping head wound. She said she told him he needed to get it stitched up at a hospital, but he said he didn’t want to leave his home.
“He was in pain. I wanted to leave. He didn’t want to,” Franklin Bowers said. “He was really upset because they took all of his [drugs] and money. I don’t know how much it was.”
Franklin Bowers said Anderson was on a couch in the living room when she fell asleep on a recliner. When she awoke around 3 a.m. on March 27, 2017, she said he lay dead on his back on the floor between the couch and a coffee table. After trying to revive Anderson, Franklin Bowers said she ran to a neighbor’s house and called police.
“They told us to get on the ground,” a distraught Franklin Bowers told a 911 dispatcher in a recording of the call played in court. “They took our keys and our phones.”
Defense attorney Gregory W. Bowman said after the hearing that the statements of many prosecution witnesses are filled with inconsistencies. He questioned Franklin Bowers credibility during cross examination of her.
Bowman reminded Franklin Bowers, who said she has been sober since 2017, that she told police she smoked crack before falling asleep. “He expressed no interest in going to the doctors and you didn’t try too hard to get him there did you?” Bowman asked.
“I was scared to leave the house by myself,” Franklin Bowers said, adding that she thought the robbers might still be outside.
Bowman also asked Franklin Bowers about her statement to police that the robbers were white. Curry, a 33-year-old Summit Point, W.Va., resident and father of three, is black. Franklin Bowers said she didn’t remember telling that detail to police, but said Anderson’s death remains painful to her and she has tried to block out some of the details.
Under questioning from Williams, Franklin Bowers said Anderson and Smallwood had argued a few days before Anderson’s death and he had visited Anderson’s home often before the killing.
“I didn’t trust him,” she said about Smallwood. “He had stolen from Todd before.”
Smallwood, a 43-year-old Berryville resident, is scheduled to stand trial on Feb. 10. A trial date for Freeman, 27, of Berryville, hasn’t been set. Munk, 33, of Baltimore, has a Feb. 7 trial date.