Leader Blues

Friday, October 17, 2008

TOP STORY > >Accused serial killer says he’s not guilty

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Ronald Dean Charles, 31, the Cabot man who reportedly told law-enforcement officials that he had killed about 15 people in at least three states, entered a not-guilty plea Wednesday on a capital murder charge in Jacksonville District Court in connection with the death of Sandra Ann Givens of White County.

Charles earlier implicated George A. Smith of Jacksonville in connection with Givens’ murder. Smith was charged in her death and is in the Pulaski County Detention Center. Charles’ court-review date in Jacksonville will be Jan. 7, when his case will be assigned to a Pulaski County Circuit Court, the Jacksonville district clerk said Friday.

Givens’ remains were found near the Wright Cabinet Shop at the Jacksonville industrial park in a wooded area off Corey Drive. She was identified from dental records. White would have been 32 at the time of her murder a year ago.

In connection with her death, Charles was arraigned on capital murder charges in Jacksonville District Judge Robert Bratton’s court, then apparently returned to the Conway lock up.

Jacksonville Police Department detectives arrested Charles at the Faulkner County Detention Facility Wednesday, where he and Troy Allen Crook, 29, also of Jacksonville, are awaiting trial in connection with the April 9 murders of cousins Bobby Don Brock, 45, and Lonnie Franklin Brock, 62.

In addition to two capital murder charges, Charles and Crook each face a bevy of other charges related to the Brock killings. Charles led investigators to her body, and also told them of another body in northern Pulaski County off of Ann Lane, but the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, aided by cadaver dogs, called off the search after two days.

One man familiar with the area noted that it flooded during heavy rains and a body could have been carried off by the flood waters.

Maj. Andy Shock of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that he could release no further information about the other alleged murders or Charles’ alleged confession. He did say that none of the other bodies Charles takes credit for would be located in Arkansas. He said the FBI and law enforcement officials in other jurisdictions would be involved in those cases.

Givens’ family is taking care of her three young sons, William, Brandon and Johnny, according to a statement from her sister, Beverly Sills.

The Givens Family Assistance Fund has been started at the Bank of America, with all donations going directly to the children, Sills said.