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|Winnsboro man charged with murder|
A Winnsboro man has been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery following the investigation into the shooting of Colby Fortenberry that occurred at Hwy. 4 Bar on March 3.
Joshua Lee Temple, 28, of Winnsboro, was apprehended Saturday afternoon by Franklin Parish Sheriff Office deputies after an early morning tip led to a multi-agency manhunt north of Winnsboro.
Authorities said they received a call of a possible sighting of Temple around 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning in the area of Hwy. 868, known as the Coax Church Road -- east of Hwy. 15, just north of Winnboro.
Authorities had been actively pursuing Temple since Thursday night, when he fled his pick-up truck on foot after authorities attempted to make a traffic stop on him in relation to an outstanding warrant out of Franklin Parish related to forgery charges. At that time, Temple was also considered a person-of-interest by the Louisiana State Police and Tensas Parish Sheriff' Office in the Tensas homicide investigation.
Working off the tip, State Police (including the LSP air support unit), FPSO, TPSO, Richland Parish Sheriff's Office and the LA Department of Wildlife & Fisheries initiated a new ground search that stretched along Hwy. 15 from the National Guard and Armory buildings, to Life Church and all areas in between. A helicopter made regular sweeps of the specified location and dozens of authorizes scoured the area on foot, ATV's and horseback. Tracking canines were also utilized in the search efforts.
According to authorities, FPSO captured Temple without incident as he was "hiding in some bushes" just off Hwy. 868 around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Although Temple did not have a weapon on him at the time of his capture, Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb said Temple cooperated with State Police and led them to what is believed to be the weapon involved with Fortenberry murder case. The weapon was recovered in the vicinity of where Temple was initially apprehended.
Temple is being held at the Tensas Detention Center without bond on a detainer from the department of Probation and Parole. Temple, a parolee, previously served time on drug charges.
"I want to thank everyone that was involved that led to this arrest," Cobb said. "It was the result of the combined efforts of countless agencies and concerned citizens that made the apprehension possible."
Temple fled Thursday night after authorities attempted to stop the vehicle he was driving and detain him on the forgery warrant. In the torrential downpour of rain at that time, Temple exited his pick-up truck and was able to elude officers – fleeing on foot somewhere into wooded area behind Rose Avenue in Winnsboro.
Authorities swarmed Embers Motel in Winnsboro early Friday morning after receiving information that Temple may be staying there. That intel turned out to be a false alarm and the search continued without many positive leads until authorities received the tip on Saturday morning that lead to Temple's apprehension. It is believed Temple spent some amount of time hiding in an unoccupied house on Parker Lane during his 36-hour-long run from authorities.
The alleged murder of Fortenberry on March 3 is just the latest in a string of tragic incidents that have occurred at Hwy. 4 Bar. Since December of 2009, four Franklin Parish citizens have been found dead on the rural bar's premises – three allegedly murdered and one suicide.
According to State Police, Fortenberry was found murdered on March 3 at the Hwy. 4 Bar – where he was employed as a bartender. The exact times and details of the incident have not been released yet by authorities.
On April 8 of last year, the body of Jody Ezell, 50, of Gilbert, was found outside the bar. FPSO investigators and Tensas deputies began a joint investigation, along with assistance from the State Police. The investigation resulted in the arrest of Latisha R. Rashall, 42, from Newellton. Rashall was then booked at the Tensas Detention Center and charged with the second-degree murder of Ezell.
Less than a year before that, Winnsboro resident Josh Hitt, 24, was arrested July 21, 2010, and charged with the armed robbery and first-degree murder of Carl R. Crain, also a bartender at the bar. Authorities stated around 11 p.m. July 18, 2010, Crain, 47, of Winnsboro, was robbed and then shot and killed as he was closing the bar – which also serves video poker venue.
In December of 2009, reports state Jay McCarta was found dead from a gunshot wound in the bar parking lot. His death was ruled a suicide.
Colby Fortenberry's father Shawn Fortenberry said it's time for action to be taken to shut down the bar.
"There have been soo many people hurt by the horrible events that have taken place over there," Fortenberry said. "And goes past the tragedy we recently suffered in our family. I mean, when is it enough? That bar is a danger to everyone that goes near it, even the employees. It's time for it to be shut down."
The recent events have pushed some Franklin Parish residents to the point of taking action to see the troubled establishment's doors are closed for good. A group of Fortenberry's friends have started a petition to "close Hwy. 4 Bar" and plan to take the signatures to the Tensas Parish Police Jury. As of Monday, over 600 people had signed the petition.
"It really touches my heart and show me how much these people care by signing that petition," Fortenberry said. "I think everyone is aware of the issue with that place now. You have a bar in the middle of a corn field with cameras in it that don't work. Even after previous murders there, nothing was done to make the place safer. It's time to take action so another family won't have to endure what mine and many others have."
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