November 23, 2014
The man arrested in the death of a 75-year-old woman who died after being bound and gagged appeared before a Superior Court judge Wednesday.
Odes Dupree, 53, was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony murder in the death of Florene Duke, according to Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womack.
Duke was found dead on Nov. 10 in her Douglasville apartment. She was face down on a bed with her hands and feet tied behind her back, and something was stuffed in her mouth. An autopsy showed that she died of asphyxiation.
Facing the judge, Dupree showed no emotion. Chief Assistant District Attorney Ryan Leonard said Dupree killed Duke to pay off a drug debt to a crack dealer.
Detectives say it was phone calls made from the victim’s house that cracked the case.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Lt. Jamie Harrell said they noticed some unusual phone activity from Duke’s land line.
“We found that Dupree had called a drug dealer in Atlanta multiple times. The dealer later flipped and told us Dupree asked him to come to Douglasville to an apartment to collect some TVs,” said Lt. Harrell. “We don’t think the drug dealer ever saw Ms. Duke. Her body was in a bedroom and the door was closed. Dupree told the dealer it was a friend’s house.”
Detectives say the stolen TVs had Dupree’s fingerprint on them.
Leonard told the court Dupree admitted that a t-shirt used to bind the victim belonged to him.
News of an arrest did little to comfort neighbors and family of Florene Duke, who say she was a trusting soul who helped absolute strangers.
Detectives believe Dupree knew Duke, at least in passing. He once lived near her. Just 10 days after getting out of jail on a probation violation, detectives believe he came to the victim’s home looking for cash.
It was family members who later found Dukes was bound, gagged and dead from asphyxiation.
Police say Dupree has a long criminal history in several states dating back several decades.