Arrested for Murder in Lesotho
MASERU, Lesotho (AP) -- Police have arrested two
men in the slaying of American
entertainer Val Pringle, who wrote songs for Harry Belafonte, performed with Eartha Kitt and acted in "Ragtime''
and other movies, officials said Monday.
Pringle, 63, was stabbed to death Dec. 13 while
confronting burglars at his home
outside Maseru, capital of this southern African kingdom. His Dutch wife, Thea van Maastricht, locked herself
in a room and escaped unharmed, U.S. Ambassador Katherine
Police arrested two men, both reportedly from
Lesotho, over the past two days and
said they were seeking two other suspects.
The robbers broke into Pringle's home after nightfall. Alerted
to their presence, Pringle grabbed a pistol, told his wife
to stay back and went after the intruders, Peterson said.
Van Maastricht heard gunshots, then minutes later found Pringle
in a pool of blood in the driveway. A coroner said Pringle
had been stabbed 13 times.
Authorities believe he may have shot one or more
of his assailants. His stolen car was
later found abandoned with bloodstains
on the seats.
It wasn't the first time tragedy struck the
Pringle family in Lesotho, a
mountainous country of 2 million people surrounded
by South Africa.
After Pringle moved to Lesotho in the 1980s, his
brother Carl followed. Two years ago,
Carl was shot while scuffling with carjackers
who were trying to steal his minivan. He died months
later of complications from the shooting, Peterson said.
Val Pringle, a singer, songwriter, playwright
and actor, moved to Lesotho after
appearing in the country on a cultural exchange
tour sponsored by the United States Information Service.
He became a businessman, running a nightclub and the
Lancer's Inn, a popular hotel and restaurant.
Pringle had minor roles in five films in the
1970s and early 1980s. He recorded four
albums and wrote songs for other performers, including "Louise,'' recorded by Belafonte.
He appeared as a character named Lead in an
episode of "Sapphire and Steel,'' a TV
series produced from 1979-81 that dealt
with time travel.
As a struggling actor, Pringle shared
accommodations with comedian Richard
Pryor and actor Lou Gossett Jr., according to
press reports. As a singer, he also shared the stage with musicians such as Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela.
Peterson and King Letsie III of Lesotho are to address a memorial
service Wednesday. Pringle's remains will be cremated.