Charges pending in Stillwater homicide, arson

Ponca City Now - February 2, 2015 7:48 am

The Stillwater Police Department intends to present charges to the Payne County District Attorney on a woman suspected in a homicide and arson fire which occurred Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The Stillwater Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 100 block of West Scott Street, coming from the upstairs apartment of a two-story building. Firefighters forced entry into the downstairs apartment to evacuate any occupants and discovered 64-year-old William C. Marg deceased. Stillwater police responded to the scene and began investigating.

Initial investigation indicated Marg’s death was a homicide and the source of the fire in the upstairs apartment was suspicious.

Investigators identified the residents of the upstairs apartment as 42-year-old Ralph Willis III and his wife Rachel Willis, 37. The couple was not at the apartment and were identified as persons of interest in Marg’s homicide.

Looking deeper into the Willis’ criminal background, investigators discovered they both had warrants for their arrest. Ralph Willis had warrants for failure to appear on two 1991 2nd degree burglary charges and a failure to pay in a 1992 escape from a penal institution charge.

Rachel Willis had misdemeanor warrants for failure to pay on a 2012 public intoxication charge as well as warrants for littering and obstructing an officer charge that same year.

With the information collected on the two, officers began searching for the couple and broadcast an attempt to locate.

Shortly after noon, officers spotted the Willises entering Wal-Mart on Perkins Road. Approximately 20 minutes later, officers made contact with the two as they exited the store. When the couple saw the officers, they ran south. Officer pursued on foot.

Officers quickly caught up with Rachel Willis and arrested her on the outstanding warrants.

Officers continued to chase Ralph Willis to the backyard of a residence located in the 600 block of East Maple Street. There, it is reported Willis turned toward the officer and made a threatening gesture at the officer. That officer fired his weapon, striking Willis one time in the chest. Willis died at the scene.

Stillwater Police Chief Ryan McCaghren requested the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation conduct the officer-involved shooting investigation.

The Stillwater Police Department, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Stillwater Fire Department are investigating the arson.

The Stillwater Police Department is investigating Marg’s homicide. The police department intends to present charges to the Payne County District Attorney’s Office on Rachel Willis for her participation in the arson and homicide.


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