The man labeled as a “person of interest” in the grisly deaths of four men in Oklahoma last week made his first court appearance on unrelated charges in Volusia County, Florida, on Wednesday.
Joe Kennedy, 67, is suspected of car theft and evading punishment. Kennedy, tied at the wrists and ankles, wore a mask and an orange jumpsuit while his public attorney read the allegations against him.
As a matter of “public safety,” the court has ordered Kennedy to be detained without bail, although he has been informed that his attorney has the right to petition for bond and/or to waive extradition to Oklahoma. During the short session, Kennedy said just one thing: “I don’t hear very well” in answer to the judge’s repeated requests that he state his name.
Kennedy has not been designated a suspect in the killings of the four men. His role as a “person of interest” in the investigation remains unclear.
Mark Chastain, 32, Billy Chastain, 30, Mike Sparks, 32, and Alex Stevens, 29, are all expected to appear in court today, a week after they were reported missing after leaving Billy Chastain’s house in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, riding bicycles on the evening of October 9.
Dead and mutilated remains were discovered in a river near Okmulgee, a city of about 11,000 people approximately 35 miles south of Tulsa, few days later.
Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice characterized it as a “very violent event,” as he revealed Monday the missing people case had transformed into a murder investigation.