Friend says murder victim talked about troubles with suspect

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on April 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM

One of the friends that murder victim Susan Loper confided in about her personal troubles with suspect Terrance Black is a North Dallas woman who was one of her clients.

Pat Smerge was among the last people to see Loper alive.

She said months of concern about her fitness instructor's difficulties with Black quickly turned into a horrible reality. "I immediately thought about this guy," Smerge said after learning about Loper's murder. "I was shaking; it was gut-wrenching."

The worst fears she had for her friend had come true.

"You start to go back in time... what she said to you... all you want to do is help, and there's nothing you can do," Smerge said.

Smerge was one of the last clients Loper saw at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano on April 18, hours before she disappeared.

Smerge contacted police after Loper went missing and told them about the ex-boyfriend who was reportedly obsessed and showering her and her son with gifts.

"She was talking about this guy who was calling her to drop off Christmas presents," Smerge recalled. "She kept telling him, 'Don't.' He said he wouldn't come in, only put them on the front porch. She said, 'Don't do that.' She opened the door, and there they were — she picked them up and put them back at his door."

Plano police say Terrance Black was obsessed with Loper long after the couple broke up. Friends warned her to get a security system and to find ways to protect herself.

"I miss Susan," Smerge said. "She's one-of-a-kind, and God took her too soon."

But friends say the fitness instructor — who keep them mentally and physically strong — never believed she was in any danger.

One other red flag, according to a police search warrant: Terrance Black got into a fight with Loper's ex-husband at her home. The warrant says after that, Black became more combative and angry toward her.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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