A man accused of murdering his mother and father in July 2011, appeared in court Thursday morning for preliminary hearing proceedings.
Kevin Paul Statham, 50, was arrested after family discovered Paul Statham, 70, and Helen Statham, 69, murdered at their home located on Old Bokoshe Rd. from apparent gun shot wounds.
According to information released by the OSBI and Sheriff’s Department, the couples other son Stephen, contacted a nephew who lived nearby and asked him to check on the couple. The nephew went to their home and found Helen Statham dead in the back yard. He dialed 911 and notified the Sheriff’s Department of the discovery. Reportedly when deputies arrived they located the body of Paul Statham, also deceased, inside the home.
The OSBI was notified by the Sheriff’s Department of the crime and an investigation ensued which soon revealed the victims' 1993 Chevy Z71 four wheel drive pickup was missing from the residence.
Authorities began searching for Kevin Statham for questioning in the murder of his parents. Statham was arrested less than 24 hours after the discovery of the bodies, during a traffic stop in Lakota, North Dakota.
Statham was returned to Oklahoma and was formally charged with two counts of first degree murder and has been detained in the LeFlore County Detention Center since October 2011 without bond.
Statham appeared in court with his defense counsel Peter Astor with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.
Thursday's court proceedings were initiated by prosecuting attorney Assistant District Attorney Marion Fry. The state called multiple witnesses during the preliminary hearing, including LeFlore County Undersheriff Donnie Edwards, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Shawn Ward and Crime Scene Agent Jenny Burden. A large portion of the proceedings surrounded testimony from several members of law enforcement from North Dakota, the original location of Statham's apprehension.
Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Agent Mike Ness, and Detective Michael Jennings with the Grand Forks Police Department were key witnesses in the occurrences during Statham's arrest and seizure of items of evidentiary value.
The three officers described receiving information of Statham's alleged crime and possible whereabouts in North Dakota, and the actions they took in locating him and retrieving evidence believed to be connected to the murders of Paul and Helen Statham. While prosecution had few questions for the witnesses and was only forced to re-direct two times during testimony, Astor centered on the legalities of the officers actions. Astor questioned the method in which one officer searched and inventoried the vehicle Kevin Statham was driving when arrested and further centered on the same line of questioning with the remaining law enforcement witnesses. Astor appeared to be laying the foundation to petition the court to consider excluding evidence seized during the initial search incident to arrest. Items such as a 30-06 rifle with a spent cartridge lodged inside the chamber and a 12 gauge shotgun.
The family and friends of Paul and Helen Statham will have to wait until March 29 for a decision by Special Judge Jeff Singer as the hearing was continued Thursday afternoon pending the completion of the autopsy report.
If the states proves there is sufficient evidence that Statham likely committed the murders of Paul and Helen Statham, Kevin Statham will be bound over for trial as proceedings continue.