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Mo. man accused of dismembering victim, throwing arms

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. -- A northeast Missouri man accused of killing a man, dismembering the body and setting fires to conceal the crime, hurled the victim's arms at witnesses shortly before he was arrested, police said.

Paul R. Potter, 49, of Kirksville, was charged Monday in Adair County with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with a motor vehicle and is being held on $1 million bond. Kevin Locke, the public defender assigned to represent Potter, did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Authorities are not releasing the victim's name until relatives have been notified, the Adair County prosecutor's office said.

Police officers responding to a call of a vehicle fire Sunday arrived at a public housing development in Kirksville and saw Potter "throw two objects, later identified as human arms, toward the witnesses," according to a probable-cause statement.

Potter was taken into custody "and blood evidence was later collected from his hands," the statement said.

Fires had been set in two apartments. Officers and firefighters found a dismembered body with additional wounds to the face and sternum in one of the apartments. Both apartments were both strewed with blood.

Potter had taken "substantial steps to conceal the crime and divert attention away from the crime," the police statement said.

Two vehicles also had been set on fire and police said they found several knives inside and around one of the apartments.

Witnesses told police Potter had been involved in a nearby disturbance earlier that day.

Kirksville is about 200 miles northeast of St. Louis.


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