By Keith Strange Staff Reporter
October 9, 2013
DOBSON — The trial date for the three suspects accused in the May 25, 2012, shooting death of Mount Airy convenience store owner Donald Claude Arnder has been pushed back once more.
Recently scheduled for Oct. 8, officials at the Surry County Clerk of Courts office say the trial for co-defendants Joshua Robert Berry, Emanuel William Foster and Sarah Lynn Looney has now been set for Nov. 13.
Arnder, 58 and the owner of Eddie’s Zip Food on U.S. 52, was killed during what police believe was a botched robbery attempt in the early-morning hours as he was preparing to close his business.
The crime touched off a multi-state manhunt to round up the suspects in the case, involving West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina law enforcement.
In early June last year, Mount Airy police officers traveled to Roanoke, Va., to take custody of Foster, 23, and transport him to Surry County, where he was served with warrants charging him with murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Foster was taken into custody at the Roanoke City Jail, where he was taken after being treated for several days at a hospital in the Virginia city. At the hospital, Foster was recovering from a pair of gunshot wounds allegedly sustained during the Mount Airy robbery.
Joshua Berry, 28, was brought back to Surry County on July 20, 2012, and charged with murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
He was ultimately taken into custody after several days on the run in Bland, Va.
His wife, Sarah Lynn Looney, 24, turned herself into the Bluefield Police Department the day after the fatal Mount Airy shooting.
She was arrested by Mount Airy police in Tazewell, Va., in August 2012, and transported to Surry County, where she was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and accessory after the fact to murder.
Berry, Foster and Looney, also known as Sarah Berry, were from Bluefield, W.Va., and are awaiting their trail in the Surry County Jail, where they are being held without bond.
The three defendants are believed by police to have been involved in an alleged crime spree spanning four states, including robbery charges in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.