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Suspect in 3 Killings Is Arrested in Arkansas After Manhunt


A man with an extensive criminal history who was wanted in connection with at least three killings — two in Oklahoma and one in Alabama — was arrested in Arkansas on Thursday morning after a two-day manhunt, the authorities said.

The man, Stacy Lee Drake, 50, was taken into custody “without incident” after he was found in a wooded area in Morrilton, Ark., in the central part of the state, the Arkansas Department of Public Safety said in a statement. Warrants had been issued charging Mr. Drake in two killings in Oklahoma this week and the killing of a man in Alabama in May, the authorities said.

Mr. Drake was also wanted on other felony warrants in several jurisdictions, including ones charging him with aggravated robbery and carjacking, the Arkansas Department of Public Safety said. He was being held on Thursday at the Conway County Detention Center.

A motive for the killings had not been determined. It was unclear whether Mr. Drake had a lawyer.

“What led him to become a person that violently assaults and murders people? I do not know,” Capt. Jack Kennedy, the commander of the violent crimes unit for the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama, told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

On Tuesday, a man and woman were found dead at a propane business in Gans, Okla., in the eastern part of the state, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Wednesday. The man and woman, Taylor Sharp and Tara Underwood, had been shot to death, according to court records.

Investigators had identified Mr. Drake as a person of interest in the killings by looking at a surveillance video. He was seen in the video leaving the business in Ms. Underwood’s GMC Acadia, court records state.

Her S.U.V. was later seen by the police outside a Motel 6 in Morrilton, Ark., about 120 miles east of Gans, Okla., according to court records.

Before Mr. Drake was found, the authorities in Arkansas warned the public that he was “believed to be armed and dangerous.” He had bought camping gear, the authorities said.

Mr. Drake was also connected to the killing of a man in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on May 14, Captain Kennedy said Thursday. The man, Russell Andrews, had been found shot to death at a building in downtown Tuscaloosa that houses an Alcoholics Anonymous center, Captain Kennedy said.

Hours after Mr. Andrews was killed, his vehicle was stolen and later seen on an Interstate highway near the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line, Captain Kennedy said.

Mr. Andrews had been a longtime volunteer at the A.A. center, Captain Kennedy said, adding that it was unclear what motive anyone would have had for killing him.

“No one had a bad thing to say about him,” Captain Kennedy said. “He didn’t have a violent bone in his body.”

Before Mr. Andrews was killed, Mr. Drake had been in Tuscaloosa for a week or two, Captain Kennedy said, describing Mr. Drake as “a transient” who had no fixed address or employment records.

“He was utilizing a false name, and possibly dressing himself differently, including hats and glasses, at the time that he was in Tuscaloosa,” Captain Kennedy said. “It appears that he was traveling the country in this lifestyle, utilizing false names, in an attempt to keep from being incarcerated.”

Captain Kennedy said that it was possible that Mr. Drake could also be responsible for a fourth killing.

“I would not be surprised if there’s other homicides out there that are unsolved in other jurisdictions because of his lifestyle,” Captain Kennedy said.

Mr. Drake has an “extensive” criminal history across several states that includes robberies, carjackings and kidnappings, Captain Kennedy said.

“If you look at his criminal history,’’ Captain Kennedy said, “he was continuously escalating his violent behavior.”



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