Man arrested after beatings, manhunt

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Stonie Norris

SAN MATEO, Fla. - A 37-year-old Putnam County man has been arrested on charges of home invasion robbery, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and vehicle theft after a weekend manhunt that ended Monday in Bay County, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, deputies began searching for Stonie Norris after they received a call for assistance at a home on Riverside Drive in San Mateo.

Larry Fulford told deputies that he left that morning for a walk and to have coffee with a friend. He returned home to find his wife, Teresa Fulford, badly beaten and bound with duct tape.

Larry then became a victim himself. Deputies said his daughter's estranged boyfriend, Norris, jumped out of a closet, then beat him so badly that most of the bones in his face were broken. They said Norris then tied Larry with duct tape and zip ties, before stealing his cellphone and car.

Investigators said Norris fled the area, leading deputies and detectives on an interstate manhunt, leading investigators into parts of Georgia, then into the Panhandle of Florida.

As the investigation unfolded, detectives said they learned that Norris had been living in an abandoned house next door to the Fulfords, stalking them from a small vent or window in the attic to avoid detection for about a week.

Detectives said they found evidence that indicated Norris burglarized the Fulford home and stole, among other things, a cordless phone handset, enabling him to listen to their phone calls.

Investigators said Norris eventually formulated his plan to beat the Fulfords after getting frustrated that their
daughter, Norris' estranged girlfriend, never showed up at her parent's home.

The Fulfords were transported to the hospital due to the extent of their injuries. After recuperating, they were transported to an undisclosed safe house until Norris was arrested.

Norris is currently in the Bay County Sheriff's Office jail awaiting extradition to Putnam County.

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