The suspect was released from prison in October and used a North Side address.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- George Ware IV bought a 1989 Cadillac on Wick Avenue for $1,200 after setting fire to a car on the East Side that had Suzanne M. Dalton's body in the trunk, police say.
Ware shot Dalton, 43, in the driveway of his girlfriend's apartment at 3502 Hillcreek Court, Columbus, sometime after midnight Dec. 8, said Lt. Robin Lees, public information officer. The motive, Lees said Friday, was robbery of cash and jewelry.
Dalton, of Columbus, had been at a bar in her hometown about midnight and, at 8 a.m., her charred remains were found in the trunk of a 1999 Lincoln Town Car behind 628 Oak St., the former Red Carpet Lounge on the East Side. Lees said it takes about three hours to drive to Youngstown from Columbus.
Columbus police have issued an aggravated murder warrant for Ware, 27, of Tacoma Avenue. The North Side address was given when Ware obtained a temporary driver's permit Oct. 17, police said.
Police believe he may be in this area or in Akron.
Records show that Ware was convicted of aggravated robberies and attempted bribery in 1993 and 1994 in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
He was sent to prison in April 1994 and paroled Oct. 16 from the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. Records show he was also convicted of having drugs in a detention facility.
Ware is also being sought as a parole violator at large. Police consider that he may be armed and describe him as dangerous with a history of drug abuse.
While in prison, Ware, originally from Youngstown, developed a pen-pal relationship with Holly Washington, 41, 3502 Hillcreek Court, Columbus, Lees said. Dalton's home, at 268 Stacey Lane, could be seen from the Hillcreek Court address, he said.
Lees said it's not known yet whether Ware and Dalton knew each other. The crime, he said, was no "street robbery," but a "little more targeted than that."
Ware could face charges in Mahoning County of arson and abuse of a corpse, Lees said. The decision is up to county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.
Columbus police used a search warrant Friday at Washington's home, Lees said.
Washington, charged with obstruction of justice, was arraigned Friday in Columbus. She failed to cooperate in the investigation and misled detectives in the beginning, Lees said.
Youngstown Detective Sgt. John Kelty would not say whether she is now cooperating against Ware.
Washington faces charges in Boardman of receiving stolen property and forgery.
Lees said she attempted to use Dalton's credit card at the Southern Park Mall in Boardman on Dec. 8.
Kelty said she tried to charge $210 worth of merchandise at the mall, but when the clerk asked for identification, she said she'd get it from her car and didn't return.
Lees declined to comment on whether Washington accompanied Ware to Youngstown or drove another car here.
While in town, Ware bought a 1989 Cadillac at Chariot Auto Sales on Wick Avenue for $1,200, Kelty said.
Washington's apartment, meanwhile, is next door to that of 40-year-old Diane Knaff, Dalton's friend.
Last month, police obtained a warrant for Knaff, suspecting that she had been the woman who used Dalton's credit card at the Southern Park Mall. After questioning Knaff, who had an alibi, the warrant was withdrawn.
Kelty said Knaff and Washington resemble each other "facially," but not beyond that.
The burned-out Lincoln, meanwhile, was owned by the victim's husband, Richard Dalton, a district manager at The Columbus Dispatch newspaper. He reported his wife missing Dec. 8, the day she was found in the trunk.
The husband last saw her the day before when she left to go Christmas shopping. The homicide was investigated by Youngstown and Columbus detectives. The jurisdiction of the homicide is Columbus, Lees said.