Girlfriend says police have the wrong man in TV anchor's death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Girlfriend says police have the wrong man in TV anchor's death

Curtis Vance Curtis Vance

By Janice Broach - bio | email

MARIANNA, AR (WMC-TV) - She had her whole life in front of her as a graduate of Rhodes College, a former intern at Action News Five and an up-and-coming anchor at KATV in Little Rock.  But Anne Pressly's life was cut short when she was beaten to death inside her home in October of 2008.

"I found my daughter beyond recognition with every bone in her face broken," Anne's mother, Patti Cannady, recalled in December of 2008.  "Her nose broken, her jaw pulverized so badly that the bone had come out of it.  I actually had thought that her throat had possibly been cut."

Police say Curtis Vance of Marianna, Arkansas is the man responsible for the brutal murder. Though Vance originally confessed to the crime, for months he has proclaimed his innocence. Now, for the first time, Sheanika Cooper, Vance's girlfriend and mother of his three children, says police have the wrong man.

"The day before we were in the news they came and questioned us but he didn't know what it was for," Cooper said.

Cooper said Vance acted shocked when police arrested him for Pressly's murder, and that she didn't sense anything unusual about his behavior leading up to the arrest.  But, there were periods of time when she did not talk to Vance, and he was often back and forth between Marianna and Little Rock, where he has relatives.

"He was with me most of the time," Cooper said. "Off and on. Every relationship has their problems."

One problem for Vance - he is not only charged with the murder of Anne Pressly, but also charged with raping a woman in Marianna.  Police say DNA taken in the Pressly case linked Vance to the Marianna rape, a claim Vance disputes.

"I just wanted to let you all know I was arrested on false DNA charges that the state crime lab said is false," Vance said in a recent interview. "There is no semen found. There is no skin found. There is no hair found in the Anne Pressly case."

Cooper simply does not believe Vance is guilty.

"Curtis is the type of person that, if he got 10 cents, he gonna try to give you nine cents, you know? He's not the type of person to do the things they're trying to accuse him of," she said.

But police say he is that type of person, and are certain they have the right suspect in both cases.  Cooper does not think Vance will get a fair trial in the Pressly case.

"No offense to you, but she's white, and she's an anchorwoman, and so many people loved her, " Cooper said. "To the Pressly family, I'm sorry for your loss, but you know, it's gonna be...that's what's gonna make a difference because, she is a white woman and he's a black man, and we all know."

Police say the evidence speaks for itself, and Anne Pressly's parents have no doubts Vance is the man who killed their daughter.

"This is the last person that Anne faced," Cannady said. "This was her killer."

Cooper said Vance used to sell magazines door-to-door, and he came in contact with many people.  She has kept in touch with Vance since he's been in jail, and plans to attend the trial every day, along with Vance's mother.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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