Witnesses to gruesome homicide speak out

Wade Perkins

It is the first homicide in Kirksville in more than six years.

â??Words canâ??t really describe it,â?? Jerry Strahl said. â??I was shocked (and) confused because Paul he was always really friendly you know outgoing he was always really helpful. He gave my friend two dollars for his birthday just last Friday. Nobody would have imagined Paul doing that.â??

The men who live just a few doors down from the home that became a house of horror canâ??t believe the things they saw Sunday night.

â??I saw a shadow of flames, so I went outside to see what was going on and our friendâ??s car was on fire,â?? Wade Perkins said.

Strahl and Perkins thought they were going to help Paul Potter, 49, from the fire when he allegedly attacked them.

â??We saw Paul standing outside watching, and we didn't think anything,â?? Strahl said. â??He was watching the car fire too. I told my friend letâ??s go down and talk to him and make sure heâ??s okay. And when we went down there thatâ??s when he tried to pull my friend in and when me and my friend went to get away thatâ??s when he threw the severed arms at us.â??

â??When I was being pulled I didnâ??t know what he had planned,â?? Perkins said.

â??He grabbed my hand and wrist and I was able to escape from his clutches and I went to turn around and escape from him, and he went to grab my hood. (Potter) said to me, Look what this SOB did to my son, so I killed him."

Yellow tape lined the house as police went through the charred home where they found a dismembered body.

Authorities have yet to identify the victim.

Potter is charged with murder in the second degree, second degree arson and tampering with a motor vehicle.

Both witnesses say this experience has changed the way they view life.

â??It changed my entire outlook on life,â?? Perkins said. â??Life is too precious to lose.â??

â??I regret making the suggestion of me and my friend going down there to check on him,â?? Strahl said. â??Because, I mean we could have lost our lives itâ??s hard to swallow still.â??

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