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84-year-old woman slain in home; man arrested for first degree murder

South Boston News
Charlotte Osborne Rice in 1983 with her husband, Charlie, a World War II veteran / April 15, 2011
The community spent the weekend reeling from news that an 84-year-old South Boston woman, Charlotte Osborne Rice, was found dead in her 2513 North Main Street, South Boston, home on Thursday night. A 39-year-old South Boston man, who was apparently a former next-door neighbor, has been charged with first-degree murder.

James Lloyd Terry had his first hearing date set for June 13 at 2 p.m.

Terry was in Halifax County General District Court on Friday afternoon to ask for a court-appointed attorney on the grounds that he is indigent. He address on his arrest warrant says homeless, and the Virginia Sex Offender Registry lists him as staying at the Hillcrest Motel in Riverdale as of late last month.

Public Defender Buddy Ward of Halifax said he probably will take the case himself, but had no other comment.

Terry, described as 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, was taken into custody by police shortly after 9 p.m. following a foot chase when officers tackled him on Oakes Avenue, very close to the house.

South Boston Police were called to the woman’s home, a large Victorian where she lived alone across the street from Oak Ridge Cemetery, just before 9 p.m. to investigate a possible breaking-and-entering still in progress.

When an officer arrived, a caller said a man had left the house. According to Police Captain B.K. Lovelace, the alleged intruder was spied in the back yard and was told to stop; Terry allegedly took off running.

Terry is being held without bond in the Halifax County Blue Ridge Regional Jail. Rice’s body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond for an autopsy.

Inside the home, neighbors and police found the dead woman.

A neighbor, who asked not to have his name printed, said he and another neighbor man went into the house while police were there and were stunned to find Rice lifeless.

“It’s just uncalled for,” said the neighbor, who said he was having trouble sleeping. “She was 80-some years old.”

“I was sitting here just yesterday and I was saying to myself, ‘It’s so safe,’” said the neighbor’s wife, with the bustle of traffic along North Main, which their houses face, and Hamilton Boulevard, which runs perpendicular to the south.

“The whole town is rocked,” said Rice’s niece, Judie Thompson, who lives in Richmond but keeps in touch with people here.

“This just makes me sick,” said South Boston Mayor Carroll Thackson, who lives four doors away. “It just saddens me as mayor of South Boston that we’d have such an atrocious crime in our community.”

But Thackston praised the efforts of law enforcement: “I’m so happy our police officers got there when they did,” he said. “They caught him; there can be no question now.”

The last alleged murder in Halifax County occurred last June; Quincey Polk is charged with stabbing his brother at Westside Village. The case is awaiting the outcome of evaluations and has not yet come to trial, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim S. White, who visited the scene of Rice’s slaying Friday morning.

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