Leader Blues

Friday, September 26, 2008

TOP STORY > >Search for bodies continues after arrest made Thursday

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

At least two serial killers may have lived among us for years in Jacksonville and Cabot, according to a source familiar with the investigation into as many as 15 murders in Arkansas and other states.

Jacksonville police on Thursday ar-rested George Alan Smith, 33, of 3015 Graham Road, Jacksonville, and charged him with capital murder in connection with the remains of a woman found this week in a wooded area off Cory Drive, Jacksonville police said.

But Ronald Dean Charles, 31, of 45 Oak Meadows Drive in Cabot, already charged in Faulkner County in connection with killing two Vilonia-area cousins, has apparently confessed to killing about 15 people, the source said, including taking part in the murder with which Smith is charged.

Smith, who had been on probation for filing a false report, is in the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Several of Smith’s weapons were confiscated.

Charles reportedly helped lead officials to the site of the dead female recovered in Jacksonville this week, and law-enforcement officials from several jurisdictions, including the State Police and the FBI, are involved in checking out his claims to have murdered many others.

Cadaver dogs from Saline County Search and Rescue and from the Arkansas Search and Rescue team helped Jacksonville police recover the remains, according to April Kiser, a public information officer.

Jacksonville police believe they know the identity of the victim, but won’t release it until they are certain.

The cadaver dogs and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office deputies looked over the course of a day and a half for a second body Charles apparently said would be found at a wooded site on Ann Lane.

Charles, who grew up in Jacksonville, apparently implicated Smith in at least the one murder. He has been moved from the Faulkner County Jail to another facility for his protection.

Charles and Troy Allen Crook, 29, of 2716 Moro Lane, Jacksonville, were charged about a year ago in connection with the April 9, 2007 murders of cousins Bobby Don Brock, 45, and Lonnie Franklin Brock, 62, according to documents at the Faulkner County Courthouse.

It is not clear whether Charles has implicated Crook or Smith in other murders.

For the Brock killings, Charles and Crook are charged with two counts each of capital murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of theft of property and two counts of being felons in possession of a firearm.

Firearms were among items allegedly stolen by the pair during commission of the crimes, according to the felony information on file with the Faulkner County circuit clerk.

Both men have prior records, Charles’ stretching back to a 1995 Pulaski County conviction for two counts of commercial burglary and two counts of theft of property. He was 18 at the time, and was sentenced to two years in prison. In 1999, he was sentenced to six years for residential burglary and theft of property.

Crook was convicted in Pulaski County for residential burglary in 2000, probation revocation in 2001, and was convicted in 2006 of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Law-enforcement officials Thursday would not confirm any connection between Charles and the suspected serial killings.