Sunday, January 14, 2007

A North Carolina man suspected in the beheading his 4-year-old daughter was arrested by U.S. marshals early yesterday at a Holiday Inn two blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

Authorities said John Patrick Violette, 37, flew to the District and was tracked through his use of his credit card after his car was spotted at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Mr. Violette’s wife, Amber Violette, told police on Friday that she had found their daughter, Katlin, decapitated at the family’s home in Clayton, N.C., a suburb about 15 miles southeast of Raleigh.

Jim Werking, an inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service’s Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, said marshals were notified by authorities in North Carolina at about 2 a.m. yesterday that Mr. Violette was in the hotel, located at 415 New Jersey Avenue NW.

The task force converged on Mr. Violette’s room at about 4:30 a.m. and arrested him without incident, Mr. Werking said.

“It was good police work by all of the participating agencies,” Mr. Werking said.

Sally Ifill, director of operations at the Holiday Inn where the arrest occurred, said Mr. Violette arrived by taxi and checked in alone at about midnight.

She said she was notified at about 4:15 a.m. yesterday that federal marshals were at the front desk looking for Mr. Violette, and she watched as marshals took him in shackles from the hotel.

“He looked as if he had been sleeping, a bit disheveled,” Miss Ifill said.

Mr. Werking said Mr. Violette was being held by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Violent Crimes Branch.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a Metropolitan Police spokesman, said Mr. Violette had been transported to D.C. Superior Court for an extradition hearing.

Clayton police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Violette on Friday and planned to file murder charges. Police have not yet determined a motive for the killing. Nor have officials said why Mr. Violette flew to the District.

Authorities said Mrs. Violette called 911 shortly before 5 p.m. Friday and told authorities she had returned to the family’s home and found the couple’s daughter with her head severed from her body.

Before his arrest in the District, news reports said Mr. Violette was last seen driving a 1991 Buick station wagon near his home Friday afternoon. After authorities issued a statewide bulletin with a description of the vehicle, airport police found the car at about 1 a.m.

Clayton Police Sgt. S.P. Lapsley told the News & Observer in Raleigh that an “edged weapon” had also been found, but he would not give any other details.

Mr. Violette worked at a Lowe’s Home Improvement store about seven miles from the family’s home, while his wife worked as a secretary, a neighbor told the paper.

The neighbor said the couple met at home every day for lunch and that Mr. Violette seemed to dote on his daughter.

Neighbor B.J. Woodall told the News & Observer that he felt uneasy Friday when he saw Mr. Violette speeding into the neighborhood in his station wagon. “His face was cringing. He looked like he was disturbed about something.”

Mr. Woodall told the paper that Mr. Violette was talking angrily into his cell phone as he approached the family home.

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