LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A relative of an Arkansas teenager accused of killing a couple who raised him as their grandson was charged Friday with hindering apprehension of the teen.
Randal Eugene Staton, the 58-year-old maternal grandfather of 14-year-old Justin Staton, turned himself in to police on the charge Friday morning. Prosecutors say he and the teen's mother, Michelle Staton, who was charged with the same count late Thursday, didn't notify police when they became aware the teen was involved in the July shootings of Patricia and Robert Cogdell, both 66, at their Conway home 30 miles north of Little Rock.
The younger Staton and 18-year-old Hunter Drexler, have pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the shootings. Investigators allege they robbed and shot the couple, then dumped their bodies in a wooded area behind their home. Prosecutors on Thursday also charged two more teenagers, Conner Atchley and Anastasia Roberts, both 17, with first-degree murder and theft by receiving.
Affidavits filed in Faulkner County court say Randal and Michelle Staton were made aware Justin Staton was involved in the shootings early the next morning but did not call police. The affidavit describes the family members hiding the Cogdell's truck behind their house and helping the teens rent a hotel room through another person.
When pressed by officers on why they did not call the police immediately, Randal Staton said they were finding the teen a lawyer. The affidavit notes that the delay gave the three other teens — Drexler, Atchley and Roberts — a several-hour head start as they fled to Texas, where they were eventually apprehended.
According to court records, police also recorded a call from Faulkner County jail between Michelle and Randal Staton. Michelle, who was arrested the same day as her son on outstanding unrelated warrants, asked her father to get rid of several Ziplock bags containing the boy's clothes from the night of the shooting before police could get them. Randal Staton responded that police already had the clothes.
Randal and Michelle Staton, Atchley and Roberts all had their first appearances in Faulkner County District Court Friday morning.
Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Michelle Staton, Atchley and Roberts were already in custody for other matters when the charges were filed. He said Atchley and Roberts appeared via closed circuit video feed Friday and were given $500,000 bonds by a judge.
Hiland said Michelle Staton's bond was set at $50,000, and Randal Staton's bond was set at $35,000.
Atchley, Roberts, Michelle Staton and Randal Staton are scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 13, Hiland said.