Sammy Sturgill did not come for fight

Had been at house for hours before stabbing, family and police say
Jun. 26, 2014 @ 08:20 AM

Relatives of Sammy William Sturgill say he didn't just show up at Bobby Dean Sparks' house on Bradford Street -- he was asked to come, several times, in recent days.

Sparks "kept calling me, saying he wanted to talk to Sammy," said Clarence Sturgill, 56, Sammy Sturgill's older brother. "I think Bobby was trying to lure him over there to get him. Why else would he keep calling me?"

Two weeks ago Sparks, 62, married Teresa Lynn Hall, 41, who once had been Sturgill's girlfriend. That reportedly angered Sturgill, 48.

Ted Cummings, the attorney who represented Sparks at his first court hearing Tuesday, said that Teresa Lynn Hall Sparks called Sturgill Monday evening to try to smooth things over.

But however angry the marriage might have made Sturgill, he was not a stranger to the Sparkses' house -- Sturgill was seen coming and going from the house frequently in the past two weeks, Lenoir Police Capt. Couby Stilwell said.

Sturgill already was at the Sparkses' house Monday when Teresa Sparks had a seizure shortly before 10 p.m. and had to be taken by ambulance to Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Stilwell said.

Although Sturgill stayed after the ambulance left, something went wrong, and shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday, Sparks was knocking on neighbors' doors, asking them to call the police because he had killed Sturgill, who officers found in a pool of blood on the ground outside the home, dead from a stab wound.

Police retrieved two knives from the murder scene, including a pocket knife, a search warrant filed with the clerk of court reveals. Sparks is charged with first-degree murder, and is being held in the Caldwell County jail with no bond allowed.

Clarence Sturgill, who lives at the Gateway Nursing Center on Harper Avenue, often sits under a gazebo, out of the hot sun, and looks at the flowers and vegetables that he says his brother planted for the center's residents. On Wednesday, the day after his brother's death, he and sisters Dolly Mooney, 43, and Kathy Robinette, 52, gathered under the gazebo to reflect on his tragic life. When Sammy Sturgill was sober, they say, he would do anything to help someone, and often would walk a mile to get something for somebody, without hesitation.

The problem was, he was seldom sober.

"When he was younger, before all the trouble started, he was a good kid," Robinette said. "But after he spent time in prison, he just wasn't the same. It hurts me a lot. It's the alcohol. He couldn't stay away from the wrong people."

Mooney, in an air of resignation, agreed.

"I just wish he didn't die with no purpose," she said.