Charges filed in murder case
NEW MADRID - Charges of first degree murder, first degree robbery and first degree burglary were filed against two men Thursday ending nearly a week of investigation by officers from across the area.
Bobby Lee Mays Jr., 27, of Howardville and Cornelius Sutton, 18, of New Madrid were charged by New Madrid County Prosecutor Lewis Recker Thursday. Arraignment on the charges in Division II of New Madrid County Circuit Court before Associate Judge Charles Spitler is expected to be Monday.
The men are charged in connection with the death of Charles "Charlie" Toler, 70, whose body was discovered Saturday at his home on Femmer Drive.
In the complaint filed by Recker, the men are charged with knowingly causing Toler's death on or about Aug. 17. The robbery count stems from the forcible theft of cash and a .22 caliber rifle according to the complaint while it is alleged the men entered Toler's home for the purpose of committing a robbery, prompting the burglary charge.
The probable cause affidavit filed by New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens with the court noted Toler died of asphyxia, or suffocation.
Authorities were able to link the two men to the crime through interviews with individuals during their investigation. According to Stevens' probable cause statement, authorities found DNA linking Sutton to the crime scene at the home of Sutton's girlfriend as well as discovering a .22 caliber rifle in the crawl space under her house.
Both men were taken into custody Wednesday evening without incident, Stevens said.
"These arrests were the culmination of things - evidence at the scene and investigation as far as statements taken from individuals," said Stevens.
The investigation was conducted by the Major Case Squad, which comprises officers from the Scott County and New Madrid County sheriff departments, the Sikeston Department of Public Safety and Missouri Highway Patrol, along with the New Madrid Police Department.
Stevens offered high praise for the officers from the different agencies and their efforts to bring the case to a resolution.
"I really can't express with how pleased I am with how well the Major Case Squad worked," said Stevens. "The community was quick to offer any help they could as well as far as feeding us, making equipment available. The city of New Madrid let us take over city hall. We really appreciate what everyone did."
The sheriff acknowledged the investigation is continuing in the case but said he did not anticipate any further arrests.
"We are still wrapping up loose ends and trying to get all of our ducks in a row," Stevens said.
No bond for Sutton or Mays has been set at this time.