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Murder at the University of Arkansas: Takatak and the Insubstantial Pageant

From the Northwest Arkansas Times:

What began as a welfare check Sunday morning led to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol arresting a Fayetteville man suspected of killing a University of Arkansas student.

Zachariah Marcyniuk, 28, faces a charge of first-degree murder for the death of Katherine Wood, 24.

After receiving calls about a disturbance at the Colonial Arms Apartments on 1211 N. Leverett Ave. in Fayetteville, police found a purse outside the complex. The contents of the purse led them to Apt. 11, where they found Katherine Wood, deceased. Less than an hour later, police began seeking Zachariah Scott Marcyniuk. Marcyniuk had some sort of relationship with Katherine Wood, and he had a criminal history.

Writing as takatak777 (for you intrepid reporters ganking this blog’s research: link goes to an entry where Marcyniuk posted his name, address, and phone numbers) on Livejournal, Marcyniuk devoted one of his first blog posts to one of the events in 2005 that netted him time in the Fayetteville court system. He’d had a bad breakup with someone named Sarah, and for whatever reason, Marcyniuk made things worse:

this is the official story, in black and white: Two weeks ago I broke into HER apartment, when she wasnae (sic) there, in order to retrieve MY stuff (items that were mine, not items that I had given to her as gifts and such). The cops came knocking as I was trying to fix the doorjamb, after I had swept up the mess on the kitchen floor. With four guns in my face I was arrested for breaking and entering, and attempted theft of property…

Marcyniuk described his jail stay. He then tried to explain himself, seemingly blaming his ex in the process:

So how does one come to this? Why did I do what I did? For some, the answer is easy to understand (as they have been there before), for others it’s incomprehensible. I think she knows why this happened, because she understands me all too well, and she knows (somewhere deep inside) that her actions were going to hurt me eventually. Right now, I can say with all honesty that, besides the split second I actually used my forearm to force the deadbolt to seperate from the wall, I was never all that angry. Just hurt, and wanting to make a clean break (that she wouldn’t let me have) from her.

Fayetteville Police were unclear as to the relationship between Marcyniuk and murder victim Katherine “Katie” Wood, but alleged killer and victim knew each other well. Marcyniuk was in Wood’s top friends, and he’d left numerous comments on Wood’s MySpace profile (link to copy of the page). She was also in his list of friends and a frequent commenter on his page, where she left images and YouTube videos in addition to what appeared to be responses to messages Marcyniuk left for her.

Wood also blogged on MySpace, titling her page “insubstantial pageant.” She wrote an entry on January 4, 2007 that could have been in reference to Marcyniuk, who was fond of Kung Fu movies:

I’ve waited four days for this, but here it is: the obligatory New Years blog.

So 2006, what is there to say…it’s over, but it was good. In fact, it was pretty damn good. I made it through what was probably my most difficult semester of classes with no serious GPA indentions, made a lot of artistic progress, and even managed to build on my personal life. (girls, when the cute ticket guy badgers you about the world cup, badger him right back, accept his tekken challenge, and pretend to have a vague interest in kung fu films…it works everytime).

Katie Wood was an English major at the University of Arkansas. One of the last entries she posted in her MySpace weblog in October of last year hinted at the writer inside:

It will be difficult to force myself to go to class, it will be impossible to stay awake if I succeed in attendance. Weather like this is only good for sitting on a squishy couch and flipping through magazines while drinking tea until you fall asleep to the quietness. All I can think about is a blanket made of purple yarn (every cool, rainy day should be dedicated to old lady’s who knit) and the solitary yellow glow of a lamp near the sofa. I’d give anything to escape this incandescent lighting…

While Zachariah Marcyniuk had an extensive presence on the Web (see the end of the entry), his abandoned Livejournal may have been the most revealing document he left online. Marcyniuk spoke constantly of his ex, Sarah, even after he’d begun doing community service for convictions related to his actions after their breakup. Much of what he wrote sounded like the ramblings of a stalker:

way to go for stubby, ugly guys Sarah, really…he’s smaller than I am, for Buddha’s sake!!…and twitchy (but really, his short limbs are what stuck out to me – just like Tommy)…and, well, he’s just an unattractive douchebag – end of story, but you seem to specialize in that kind of guy recently…there’s not much to him, but that’s probably how you want it right now…I thought it was really funny how he was trying to appear threatening with his little stencil knife…

[…]

Wanna see how much those other guys care about you?..How many of them have really tried to get you to go back to school?..How many of them say ‘No, let’s NOT drink or smoke pot anymore, or go to some pointless stupid party or bar, and let’s start getting our shit together’?…How many?..What – NONE OF THEM?..Well, that’s how much they care about you Sarah – I respect you enough to want YOU to make yourself a better person…

Other posts around the same time in Marcyniuk’s LJ indicate he was actually doing community service for the crimes he committed after breaking up with the woman with whom he was still obviously obsessed.

Was Zachariah Marcyniuk stalking Katie Wood? It doesn’t seem a stretch to ask the question, for it seems like he didn’t learn much of a lesson from his run-ins with the law after breaking up with another woman 3 years ago.

The Arkansas State Medical Examiner will determine the cause of Katie Wood’s death. Zachariah Marcyniuk was being held in Oklahoma late Sunday, pending his return to Arkansas to face a charge of 1st degree murder.

UPDATE, 12:02 p.m. ET

Thanks to Monika for pointing this link out in a comment: “Katie Wood.” The link goes to a blog at ZenandJuice.com. The blogger was apparently friends with Katie Wood. She wrote about her friend’s death and in the process she clarified Zach’s and Katie’s relationship: “The last time that I talked to [Katie] was Thursday March 6th, around 12:30pm. She IM’d me, asking me if I could call her phone, because she couldn’t find it. There was no answer – it went directly to voicemail.

“She said that she suspected that Zach took it, and he’d been ‘acting crazy’. They had been dating for awhile, and recently broke up, but were still friends. While we were talking, Zach wrote her back saying that he didn’t take it and had no idea where it was.”

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