KIRKSVILLE — Neighbors of a Missouri man accused of killing a man, dismembering the body and tossing the victim's arms at bystanders, said the scene left them with nightmares and was "like something out of a horror movie."
Paul R. Potter, 49, of Kirksville, is also accused of setting fires to conceal the crime. He 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 return a phone call seeking comment.
Police officers responding to a call of a vehicle fire Sunday arrived at the housing development in Kirksville, about 200 miles northwest of St. Louis, and saw Potter "throw two objects, later identified as human arms, towards the witnesses," according to a probable cause statement.
Neighbor Jerry Stahl said he was outside Potter's apartment when Potter hurled the victim's arms.
"They hit me. I had blood on me, and I've had nightmares since," Stahl told The Kirksville Daily Express. "I couldn't sleep Sunday. I still cry about it. It's horrific."
Martina Mudd, another neighbor, said she was awakened late Sunday by a car horn going off. She went outside to see what was going on and saw firefighters trying to put out a vehicle fire. She then saw police officers running toward another apartment where Potter was throwing things.
Mudd said police arrested Potter and as she moved closer to the objects Potter had thrown she saw what they were.
"That's when I noticed the object he threw were arms," Mudd said. "It was awful. It was like something out of a horror movie, only it was real."
Authorities have not released the victim's name because relatives were being notified.
The Missouri Department of Corrections said Potter was convicted of sale of a controlled substance in 1995 in Linn County and was discharged from probation in 2009.
Marlene Hamman said it's difficult to believe Potter is accused of murder and said several neighbors "are still in shock over it."
"That wasn't the Paul we knew," she said.
Neighbors described Potter as friendly and as someone who would give and borrow cigarettes and had also given $2 to a neighbor as a birthday gift.
"(Potter) was always doing nice things, he was very talkative, and he had a big laugh you could hear through all the apartments," Mudd said. "No one would guess he'd do this, but anyone could snap. You never know about people."