Person of Interest in Okmulgee Quadruple Murder Is Found

Joe Kennedy owns scrapyard near where police believe victims were shot, dismembered
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2022 3:29 PM CDT
Person of Interest in Okmulgee Quadruple Murder Is Found
Officials investigate a bridge near the Deep Fork River where bodies were found in Okmulgee, Okla, on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022.   (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)

A person of interest in the murders of four Oklahoma men has been arrested in Florida. Joe Kennedy, owner of a salvage yard in Okmulgee, 38 miles south of Tulsa, was arrested in Daytona Beach Shores. Police found in him in a vehicle that had been reported stolen to the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office on Monday, KJRH reports. A warrant had been issued for his arrest in connection with a shooting that occurred in 2012. More:

  • The victims. The four men—Mark Chastain, 32; brother Billy Chastain, 30; Mike Sparks, 32; and 29-year-old Alex Stevens—were last seen alive on Oct. 9, when they left an Okmulgee home on bicycles. Their remains were found in a river Friday. Police believe they were shot and dismembered near Kennedy's salvage yard.

  • The person of interest. Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said Friday, before the remains found in the river were identified, that investigators had spoken to Kennedy. He "appeared to be cooperative," BuzzFeed reports Prentice as saying. On Saturday, the chief said Kennedy was missing and might be suicidal. Kennedy's vehicle was found abandoned Monday in Morris, six miles from Okmulgee. News on 6 reports that records show Kennedy has been serving a 10-year deferred sentence for shooting one of six men who broke into his salvage yard in 2012.
  • The investigation. Police say they discovered evidence of a "violent event" at a property next to Kennedy's salvage yard. During the search for the men, Mark Chastain's cellphone was traced to a salvage yard, a gas station, and then Kennedy's salvage yard, where it was turned off. Investigators are still looking for the men's bikes and the gun that was used.

  • Men were going to "hit a lick." Prentice said Monday that the men had apparently planned to commit some kind of criminal activity when they left Billy Chastain's home Sunday evening. The chief said a witness had been invited to join the men and "hit a lick big enough for all of them," the New York Times reports. "That is common terminology for engaging in some type of criminal behavior, but we do not know what they were planning or where they planned to do it."
  • Devastated families speak out. Relatives of the four men spoke of their grief and devastation after the bodies were identified Monday, News on 6 reports. "There's gonna be that void, there's gonna be that hole, there's gonna be just that memory. It's all we got now, the memories of them, and it hurts," said Ashley Carnes, a cousin of the Chastain brothers.
  • "A very violent event." "I’ve worked over 80 murders in my career," Prentice said Monday, per the Oklahoman. "I have worked murders involving multiple victims. I have worked dismemberments. But this case involves the highest number of victims, and it’s a very violent event."
(More Oklahoma stories.)

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