FULTON COUNTY, Ark. – A penitentiary inmate’s confession has led to police resolving a 1991 cold case in Fulton County.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by an Arkansas State Police investigator, 48-year-old Rick Headly wrote a confession letter detailing his killing of 19-year-old Sabrina Underwood in 1991. Headley is currently serving a life-without-parole sentence in the state’s Department of Corrections Varner Unit for the stabbing death of his ex-wife in Bradley County in 2018.
Headley told a witness he had written the letter because he “wanted to get the murder of Sabrina Underwood off his chest,” according to the affidavit.
The letter detailed Headley giving Underwood a ride after meeting her in a gas station. Headley said in the letter that Underwood attempted to extort him leading to his stabbing her to death in a Fulton County cemetery.
Headley was 16 years old when Underwood was killed.
“Investigators at the time [of Underwood’s death] developed leads, possible suspects, and submitted evidence to the ASCL [Arkansas State Crime Lab] in this case. None of the leads or evidence resulted in the arrest of any suspect,” the affidavit stated.
The investigator stated in the affidavit that Headley’s description of the murder scene matched the evidence that had been gathered in the 1991 case. Headley also identified Underwood after the investigator showed him a picture of her.
“Sabrina’s family still suffers from the pain of her absence, but we hope this week’s arrest will provide them with some comfort and long-sought answers,” ASP Colonel Mike Hagar said. “We will never give up on finding justice for families like the Underwoods.
Court records show Headley was charged with first-degree murder in Underwood’s death on Oct. 17. He is scheduled for trial in November.