Monday, July 25, 2016

Murder Suspects Court Date Is Sept. 14; Body Still Not Found

Three Webbers Falls men, accused of first- and second-degree murder, will next be in district court on Sept. 14.

According to court records, Michael Anthony Snelling, 22, and Charles Blake Shamblin, 25, both of whom face first-degree murder charges, and Tyler Paul Leverett, 22, who is charged with second-degree murder, will be on Associate District Judge Kyle Waters’ felony disposition docket on Sept. 14 in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw.

They are charged with the murder of Matthew Scott Fagan of Webbers Falls.

All four men were together on June 21 at a hiking trail at Lake Tenkiller when the three suspects reported Fagan left the group, and was never seen again.

The investigation into Fagan’s disappearance by the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office led to the admission by the suspects that Fagan became involved in a fight, allegedly over a woman, and was beaten to death. His body was then disposed of in Lake Tenkiller.

However, Leverett said Snelling was involved in the fight, and killed Fagan, while Snelling said Leverett was the catalyst in the fight which led to Fagan’s death. According to court records, Shamblin also pointed to Snelling in his interview with the investigators.

Court records indicate Snelling then stood mute before the court at his initial arraignment Wednesday. By standing mute,  the defendant refused to enter a plea, and most usually the judge then enters a not-guilty plea on behalf of the defendant.

In the meantime, the sheriff’s office continued the search for Fagan’s body at Lake Tenkiller. On Friday a special water body recovery team from Texas was called in to assist with the search but was unsuccessful in locating Fagan's body in the water. “We’ve used sonar and dive teams. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Lockhart said. He explained the lake is deep where the search is taking place.

On Saturday the search was expanded from the water to a wooded area at Lake Tenkiller. Lockhart stated that he had received new information that the body could possibly be on land instead of in the water. More than 50 volunteers helped with the search on Saturday and Sunday but were still unsuccessful. "We are not ruling out the body is in the water but we follow up on all information we receive," added Lockhart.

The three suspects continue to be held in the Sequoyah County Detention Center without bail.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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