Relative of man charged with two murders believes police have wrong person

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ST. LOUIS – A 63-year-old man sits in jail tonight, charged with two counts of first-degree murder after the bodies of a man and woman were found in the bed of a pickup truck along a desolate street in north St. Louis last week.

Police say Willie Little killed the mother of his children and her boyfriend.

The victims were identified as 42-year-old Toni Washburn and 62-year-old Mark Kuhlenberg. They lived on the second floor of a two-story apartment building on the 1400 block of Benton. Little lived on the first floor.

Police say there is evidence that the murders were committed on the second floor and the bodies were then taken a few blocks away and left along N. Market St. in the bed of Kuhlenberg’s pickup truck.

The evidence police provided to prosecutors included a sworn statement that Little admitted being at the apartment building at the time of the deaths and is one of the few people with access to the second-floor unit. Police reported finding drag marks leading from the apartment building that were consistent with the markings of the shoes one of the victims was wearing.

Police said Little was the only person with access to a locked gate where it’s believed the bodies were transferred onto the pickup truck. Police also reported finding a tarp in Little’s apartment that was similar in style and appearance to a portion of tarp used to wrap up the bodies of one of the victims.

A man who identified himself as a relative of Little believes police have the wrong man. He said Little suffered from an illness that would have left him too weak to carry two bodies into the bed of a pickup truck. He said Little has lived in the neighborhood for a long time and never would have killed the mother of his own children.

“He had this house he worked his behind off for, he has little girls out here that he would not leave behind for anybody,” said Little’s relative.

The relative believes recent crimes in the neighborhood could be related to the murders and hopes anyone with information will contact police.

“We all know how good of a guy he was,” the relative said. “We all know that he was involved in the church every Sunday.”

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