Person of Interest in Killing and Dismemberments of 4 Oklahoma Men Is Charged With Murders

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy has been charged with four counts of murder.Handout

The gruesome killings in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, drew international media attention.

The sole person of interest in a grisly homicide case has been charged with murdering and dismembering four Oklahoma men, authorities said.

Joe Kennedy, 67, now faces four counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Billy Chastain, 30, his brother Mark Chastain, 32, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, who were reported missing by their families on Oct. 9. Their remains were found in a river five days later.

Autopsy results showed the men were shot to death and their bodies then severed at the waist, Okmulgee County District Attorney Carol Iski said Monday. The arms of Mike Sparks had been removed, she said.

Kennedy was named a person of interest on Oct. 17, police said. Cell phones belonging to the men had been traced to a salvage yard owned by Kennedy, authorities said. Florida law enforcement officers arrested Kennedy the next day, allegedly behind the wheel of a stolen car, officials said.

He was later extradited to Oklahoma.

Iski said investigators interviewed a woman who had been dating Kennedy. She told officers that he acknowledged killing the men because “he was tired of getting robbed," the prosecutor said.

Kennedy is being held without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice earlier said the four men, who were all good friends, had been planning some sort of crime, but did not elaborate.

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