Six Suspects Arrested in Arizona
Sunday, April 7, 2097
Six persons ranging in age from fourteen to twenty have been arrested in Douglas, Arizona in connection with Sunday's triple murder in Greene County. Sheriff Terry Jones says three males and three females were arrested without incident Tuesday afternoon near the Mexican border.
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Detective John Huffine and TBI agent Barry Brakebill left this morning en route to Bisbee, Arizona, where the suspects are being held in the Cochise County Jail.
The six, all from the Paintsville, Kentucky area, are identified as twenty year old Joseph Lance Risner, nineteen year old Edward Dean Mullins, eighteen year olds Crystal Renee Sturgill and Natasha Wallen Cornett, seventeen year old Karen Renee Howell, and fourteen year old Jason Blake Bryant. The suspects have each been charged with three counts of felony murder during the commission of a theft in connection with the deaths of three members of a Knox County family. Authorities believe the victims were returning from the Jehovah's Witnesses Conference at Freedom Hall in Johnson City when they stopped at the mile marker thirty-six rest area, about three miles from where the shootings took place. Authorities believe the suspects carjacked the family at that location, then took them to Payne Hollow Lane, about a mile north of Baileyton, where they were shot. Authorities say the Chevy Citation the suspects had been driving prior to taking the victims' van was registered to the mother of one of the suspects in Paintsville, Kentucky. Mary Castle told authorities that Joseph Risner and some friends had left in the car last Wednesday. Police records indicate that the Citation, carrying the six suspects, was stopped in Gate City, Virginia, only one day before the murders, where Risner was cited for speeding.
A Douglas, Arizona, newspaper is reporting today that the suspects were already twelve miles into Mexico when they were stopped at a checkpoint and asked for credentials. When they were unable to produce the needed paper work, they turned back toward Arizona where they were stopped, as is the normal procedure by U. S. Customs, at the New Mexico point of entry. It is there that authorities took them into custody and impounded the van. No weapons were recovered from the van during the arrest, however, until the van is processed, authorities are unsure whether any of the belongings of the victims are inside the van. Officials now say two weapons were used in the Sunday nigh shootings, a .25 caliber and a 9 millimeter pistol. Thirty-our year old Vidar Lillelid of Powell, his wife, twenty eight year old Delphinia, and their daughter, six year old Tabitha died from their injuries. Three year old Peter Lillelid remains in critical condition at the U. T. Hospital in Knoxville. Sheriff Terry Jones says the investigation had not found cult related evidence at the crime scene, nor any reason to suspect any type of Satanic rituals were involved in the Sunday night incident. Jones did say, however, that the suspects have been involved in such activities in the past in Kentucky.