RUSSELLVILLE -- A man charged in the murder of two men found dead in a Russellville salvage yard was seen on surveillance cameras with an AR-15 rifle the night the men disappeared, a sheriff's investigator said Friday during a probable cause hearing.
Tyler Barefield, 35, was denied bail on two counts of capital murder Friday morning at the Pope County jail in the deaths of Aaron Brock, 22, and Beau DeWitt, 22, both of Dardanelle. Pope County Circuit Judge Don Bourne scheduled an arraignment for 9 a.m. Oct. 31.
The men's bodies were discovered Tuesday afternoon inside a crushed car at U-Pull-It Auto Parts, which is owned by Randy Barefield, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State's website.
Randy Barefield is the father of Tyler Barefield, according to the Pope County sheriff's office.
Pope County sheriff's investigator Erick Riggs testified that Tyler Barefield admitted to crushing the vehicle but denied being at the scene when the murders occurred, according to Kennard Helton, an attorney for the Brock family.
Riggs said the bodies were sent to the state Crime Laboratory, where it was determined both men died after being shot from behind, Pope County Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons said. Riggs testified that one body contained a bullet fragment consistent with a .223-caliber round and that a .223 casing was found on the ground about 35 yards away from where police believe the men were shot, Gibbons said.
Riggs said Friday during the probable cause hearing that indoor surveillance footage from the salvage yard showed Barefield watching surveillance screens, the Russellville Courier reported. Riggs said surveillance video also showed Barefield around 1:15 a.m. carrying an AR-15 rifle, which uses .223-caliber ammunition, according to the Courier. Police later recovered an AR-15 at Barefield's home, Gibbons said.
It was reported that Brock and DeWitt had bolt cutters when they entered the salvage yard, Gibbons said. Authorities recovered a pair of bolt cutters from Tyler Barefield's office Thursday night, Gibbons said.
"Mere words cannot express the devastating effect of Aaron's death, nor the continuing horror of the investigation and public scrutiny resulting from the circumstances of that death," read a statement released Friday by Brock's mother and stepfather, Kim and Nick Constantino.
Several people in town expressed shock at the murders and the man charged with committing them. Many declined to talk because they knew people involved in the case, and others described the Barefield family as respectable.
"We knew the boy's dad, mother," said Glen Chenowith, sitting in a corner booth at the Old South Restaurant at 1330 E. Main St. "They're good people. Good people."
"You wouldn't think he'd do that if he thought about it," added Chenowith's wife, Norma.
Others said they were surprised that a crime of such violent nature was committed in small town like Russellville, population 27,920.
"It's the weirdest thing," 22-year-old Ryan Foster said while sitting in a chair at Midtown Coffee at 407 N. Arkansas St. "Sounds like something off of Law & Order. When I first heard it, I thought it was a gag. Then I heard they were shot ... and put in a crusher."
NW News on 09/25/2016