Teen charged in murder of woman, 79

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Exactly one week after 79-year old Frances Wolf was found dead in her home near downtown Evansville, there's a break in her murder case.

Police have a teenage suspect in custody. Evansville Police say 17-year-old Pharoah Deshawn Newton has been arrested for the murder of Wolf.

Evansville police are charging the 17-year-old with murder after his arrest in Saline County, Illinois. Officers say they've been keeping watch over Newton since Wolf's death one week ago.

Assistant Chief Rob Hahn with the Evansville Police Department says, "There was a previous warrant for his arrest out of Saline County. He was arrested without incidence at his mother's home. He was being held there until our detectives talked to him and they followed up by arresting him for this murder."

Evansville police had been working with the Union County Sheriff's department since Frances Wolf's missing mini-van was found charred in Union County, Kentucky last Wednesday.

On Friday, police began to look more closely at Newton, the son of Henry Newton who was a tenant of Frances Wolf.

Henry lived in the basement of her home on Southeast First Street.

Although police say Henry was out of town when the murder occurred, they believe Pharoah, his son, had been staying at that basement apartment days before Wolf was murdered.

Hahn says,"It is believed that Ms. Wolf was killed sometime between 11 p.m. on Friday night and Saturday morning on October second."

According to police, Pharoah told a bishop he intended to rob Wolf, but after he stabbed her, he panicked, and fled the scene.

Police aren't buying it. Police believe Pharoah beat and stabbed Wolf several times, and then kicked her in the head.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Annie Groves said the official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Hahn says, "I can't recall of anything this brutal, to a person of this age."

Police say a phone call from Wolf's home from Newton, places him at the home of Frances Wolf.

The Saline County Sheriff's department located a bag of clothing, shoes and a knife with what appeared to be human blood on them, at a home where Pharoah had stayed the week following the murder.

The bag also contained checks that belonged to Wolf.

Hahn says, "There is nothing wrong with him physically or mentally but you've got to be a monster, to do this to a 79-year-old woman."

Forensic tests will be performed on the evidence that was collected. Police believe more people were involved, but are still investigating.

Police say Newton refused to speak with investigators, he is currently being held at the Saline County Jail awaiting extradition.

If he doesn't comply, Evansville police will have to file for extradition and arrange transportation.

Police say they are still unsure if the death of Michael Wolfe in Union County, is connected to the murder of Frances Wolf. Michael and Frances are not related.

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