(Reuters) – An Oklahoma man was charged with four counts of murder in the killing and dismemberment of four men he believed were stealing from his salvage yard, according to court documents.
Joseph Lloyd Kennedy, 67, was charged in Okmulgee County court on Monday. If convicted of any of the murders, he could face the death penalty. Authorities said they believe Kennedy acted alone. It was not known if Kennedy had an attorney.
Kennedy is being held in the Okmulgee County jail without bond for the murders of Billy Jack Chastain, 30; Mark Chastain, 32; Mike Sparks, 32; Alex Stevens, 29. Mark and Billy Chastain were brothers. Kennedy and all the murdered men were from Okmulgee, a city of 11,000 people about 35 miles (56 km) south of Tulsa.
Kennedy was already on probation for shooting a man in 2012 who he believed was stealing from his salvage yard. The man survived the gunshot wound.
When the four men’s bodies were found and identified in October, Okmulgee police chief Joe Prentice said he believed the men were out to “commit some sort of criminal act.”
Okmulgee County district attorney Carol Iski, who announced the charges against Kennedy on Monday, was asked by reporters whether the men were stealing from Kennedy’s salvage yard. She replied that it would not matter as “we don’t have a death penalty in Oklahoma for stealing.”
Court documents indicate that based on cell phone data, it is believed the men had been inside Kennedy’s salvage yard on Oct. 9, the day they were shot and killed with a rifle.
Bullet fragments were pulled from a tree just north of the yard, and blood was found along with personal items of some of the murdered men. The men were reported missing on Oct. 10.
On Oct. 14, the bodies were discovered and Kennedy fled to Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, where he was later arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and returned to Oklahoma.
A woman with whom Kennedy had a romantic relationship told police officers on Oct. 18 that Kennedy confessed to her that he shot the men and cut up their bodies, according to court documents.