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‘Person of Interest’ Now Formally Charged with Murdering Four Men Who Were Found Dismembered in River

Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy

Prosecutors have charged the man suspected of murdering and dismembering four others in Oklahoma. Joseph Lloyd Kennedy, 67, was previously locked up in Florida after authorities said he was driving a stolen car and had violated the terms of his probation for a 2013 assault and battery case.

Authorities had named him as the person of interest linked to Billy Chastain, 30, his brother Mark Chastain, 32, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, going missing Oct. 9 and being found dismembered five days later in a river.

Speaking on Monday, Okmulgee County District Attorney Carol Iski told reporters that the four victims sustained gunshot wounds and were also “transected at the waist.” Mike Sparks also had both arms removed, she said.

Billy Chastain, Mark Chastain, Alex Stevens, and Mike Sparks.

Billy Chastain, Mark Chastain, Alex Stevens, and Mike Sparks.

As previously reported, the four men were last seen leaving Billy’s home on bikes on Sunday, Oct. 9. Mark’s wife and Billy’s girlfriend reported the brothers and Sparks to be missing on Oct. 10. Stevens’ mother reported him missing that same day.

Using an app that Mark and his wife used to keep track of each other, investigators said they traced his phone to a gas station. There, surveillance footage allegedly did not show the four missing men but depicted Kennedy standing next to his blue PT Crusader. From there, the phone wound up at Kennedy’s salvage yard, Iski said. It stopped emitting a signal there, however.

According to the district attorney, Kennedy submitted to a voluntary interview, in which he claimed that he had been experiencing thefts from the scrapyard, but he denied seeing the men. Investigators believe that he was at the scrapyard when the Chastains, Sparks, and Stevens was there.

Iski said that a woman, whom she only described being in a romantic relationship with Kennedy, stepped forward to tell investigators that Kennedy, acting very strangely, came to her home on the morning of Oct. 10 and left a bike for her son. Billy’s girlfriend would later identify this bike as his, Iski said.

The woman also allegedly told investigators that Kennedy returned on Oct. 15. He was allegedly very agitated, told her he was leaving, and that she would never see him again.

He told her “they were all against him, and he lost it, and he just started shooting,” Iski said. Kennedy allegedly told her “he cut them up.”

Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice previously said that the victims were planning some sort of criminal enterprise, but he did not say what.

Iski dismissed any notion of a self-defense claim.

“Well, I would never be so bold as to predict what the defense might bring up,” she said, answering a reporter, “but the last time I checked, regardless of what happened, we don’t have a death penalty in Oklahoma for stealing.”

Kennedy was arrested in the city of Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. Iski said he was driving a Toyota Tundra that belonged to his friend. That friend reported it stolen.

Other evidence that the D.A. mentioned against Kennedy included blood on the ground near the scrapyard, a bullet in a tree, and 7.62 caliber rounds found near the tree. A deputy who lived near the scrapyard reported hearing 1o to 12 shots from a “high-powered rifle,” Iski said.

[Kennedy booking photo via Volusia County Jail; images of the Chastain brothers, Sparks, and Stevens via the Okmulgee Police Department]

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