Two brothers from West Plains have been charged with murder in connection to a weekend fire that led to the discovery of a dead body last Saturday in Howell County.

The body of Ricky Johnson was found inside his newly purchased vehicle after firefighters extinguished a fire in the detached garage of a house that was undergoing extensive remodeling.

A native of the Pottersville, Johnson, was a 2004 graduate of Willow Springs High School.

Charged with Johnson's murder are, Jared "Skip" Graven, 23, and his 31 year-old brother, Jonnathan Graven. Both men also face additional charges of arson, tampering with a motor vehicle, and abandonment of a corpse.

Sheriff Robbie Crites says that a little after 8:30 on Tuesday evening officers with the West Plains/Howell County SWAT team served a search warrant at 3823 County Road 6340 and found no one at the residence.

While at the house Crites said, "investigators discovered what appeared to be new linoleum on the floor as well as fresh paint on the walls in some parts of the residence. Several items were discovered and seized as evidence."

New leads took cops to a motel room in Thayer where four men were taken into custody about 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning. According to Crites, "two were later released and additional items were seized following the execution of a search warrant for the motel room and search warrants for two vehicles."

Additionally Crites says, "again, we want to express our condolences to the Johnson family. The investigators have virtually worked around the clock since this happened. I’m not sure the public realizes the effort and time that goes into these types of cases and I’m thankful to these other agencies and investigators for their help."

Assisting the Howell County sheriffs department with their investigation are officers with the Missouri State Fire Marshal Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol - division of drug and crime control and MSHP Crime Lab, the South-Central Drug Task Force, the West Plains Police Department, the West Plains/Howell County SWAT team, the Thayer Police Department, the Oregon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Graven brother are also being held on parole violations. There is no bond available for those charges.


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Press Release: November 20,2008:

On Tuesday, November 18, at approximately 2240 hours a search warrant was served by members of the West Plains/Howell County SWAT team at a residence located at 3823 County Road 6340. No occupants were found in the residence. Investigators processed the scene for evidence in relation to the death of Ricky J. Johnson, age 22 of Pottersville, whose body was located at the burnt garage on County Road 6420 on Saturday, November 15. Investigators discovered what appeared to be new linoleum on the floor as well as fresh paint on the walls in some parts of the residence. Several items were discovered and seized as evidence.
On Wednesday, November 19, at approximately 0838 hours four individuals were taken into custody for questioning. All four were located in a motel room in Thayer and were arrested without incident. Two were later released and additional items were seized following the execution of a search warrant for the motel room and search warrants for two vehicles.
The investigation has resulted in the arrest of two brothers from West Plains. Warrants for Murder, Arson, Tampering with a Motor Vehicle, and Abandonment of a Corpse have been issued and served on Jonnathan D. Graven, age 31, and Jared D. "Skip" Graven, age 23, both of West Plains and both are being held on $1,000,000 bond at the Howell County Jail. In addition, both are being held for parole violations with no bond.
Sheriff Robbie Crites stated, "Again, we want to express our condolences to the Johnson family. The investigators have virtually worked around the clock since this happened. I’m not sure the public realizes the effort and time that goes into these types of cases and I’m thankful to these other agencies and investigators for their help."
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Howell County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Fire Marshal Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol - Division of Drug and Crime Control and MSHP Crime Lab, the South-Central Drug Task Force, the West Plains Police Department, the West Plains/Howell County SWAT team, the Thayer Police Department, the Oregon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
**Sheriff Crites cautioned that the charges contained in warrants are simply accusations and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented in a court of law where guilt or innocence is determined.**

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard that one of the persons who was let go has now been charged in relation to this crime & is facing federal prison time & is also female. Is this true?

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