CLEMMONS — Preliminary demolition work began Wednesday on the foreclosed former house of accused killer Pazuzu Algarad, with a work crew taking down the backyard wood fence and removing debris from the residence.
“We’ve obtained permits to move forward with demolition” of the structure at 2749 Knob Hill Drive, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Emily Bauman said Wednesday.
A Wells Fargo official had said the bank expects demolition of the house to begin the first or second week of May.
The fate of the house was sealed April 6 at the completion of a foreclosure auction. The house received no upset bids, allowing Wells Fargo to pay $126,393 to take possession. That amount is what was owed by Algarad’s mother, Cynthia James, who lived in the house.
The skeletal remains of two missing men were found Oct. 5 in shallow graves in the backyard. They were identified as those of Joshua Wetzler and Tommy Dean Welch. Both disappeared in 2009, and preliminary autopsy results indicate they had been shot to death.
A crew from Charles Harris Construction Co. in North Wilkesboro required a chain saw to take down part of the fence. The crew was using a pickup, a flatbed truck and trailers to haul away wood and debris.
An onsite employee, who declined to be identified, said the crew likely would not be able to complete its work until today. He said the bank is allowing James to take some personal possessions.
“The rest of it is going to the dump,” the employee said.
The house had heavy damage. In a video shot in October by a code-enforcement officer with the Forsyth County Housing and Community Development Department, the officer noted soot-damaged walls and ceilings as well as mold. He also noted a dried blood-like substance on the walls.
Harris, owner of the construction company, said his crew is accustomed to entering foreclosed homes that have been trashed by the previous owner or renter.
“But I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Harris said. “We recognize the sensitivity of this matter to the local residents and community since the house has become such a blight.”
Keith Bryson, who lives across the street from the property, has served by default as the neighborhood spokesman on the real-estate side of the horrific chain of events.
He said the crew’s initial demolition work represents “another step closer” to letting the neighborhood get back to normal.
“You don’t know how happy we will be to see the demolition under way,” Bryson said. “When the foreclosure auction was completed, if they had given us all sledgehammers, the house already would have been down.”
Bryson said he was nudged by neighbors to attend the auction “to make sure this is being done, and that no nutcase came out to buy the devil house and make it into a satanic church.”
Bryson said a neighbor has expressed interest in buying the land, depending on the price.
Three people have been charged in connection with the deaths of the two men found in the backyard. Algarad and his girlfriend, Amber Burch, have each been charged with first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to first-degree murder; and Krystal Matlock has been charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
According to arrest warrants, Algarad is alleged to have killed Wetzler in July 2009, with Burch helping him bury the body. Then, in October 2009, warrants allege, Burch killed Welch and Algarad helped her bury the body. Matlock is accused of helping to bury Wetzler.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill said Wednesday that no decisions have been made on when prosecutors will seek an indictment in the case.
“The case is on hold at this point,” O’Neill said in a text message.
O’Neill said that the April 30 hearing in Forsyth District Court will likely be continued to another date. Forsyth prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the death penalty.
According to court documents, Algarad performed satanic rituals and animal sacrifices at the house, and the video shot by a code-enforcement officer showed pentagrams and other satanic messages scrawled on the walls.
In October, the county housing department declared the house unfit for human habitation.
Journal reporter Michael Hewlett contributed to this article.
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