5:30 PM
An alleged fight over methamphetamine was the catalyst that led to the death of a young man from Howell County.

Court documents say that Ricky J. Johnson was at the home of Jared Graven and his brother Jonnathan late in the evening of November 14th and the early morning hours of November 15th, 2008.

In the probable cause statement investigators say that Johnson was under the influence of prescription medication when he went to lay down in the bedroom of Jared Graven. The document goes on to state that while Johnson was sleeping the Graven brothers allegedly stole meth out of the pockets of Johnson's pants and vehicle.

The court document says that when Johnson awoke he confronted the Graven brothers about the alleged theft and a fight broke out. It was during that fight the Graven brothers allegedly "hit and stomped" Johnson, causing his death.

Investigator Shannon Caldwell writes in his report that after placing Johnson's body in the young mans newly purchased car, Jared Graven drove Johnson's vehicle to a rural Howell County farmhouse. Once there authorities say the brothers parked the vehicle in the garage and set torched it.

When officers served a search warrant on the residence of the Gravens at 3823 County Road 6340 near West Plains on November 18th, they noticed that there was no bed in Jared Gravens bedroom, and that there was fresh paint in different rooms in the house, as well as new linoleum and carpet in different parts of the house. During that search investigators seized several articles that appear to have blood evidence on them.

Authorities finally caught up with the brothers at the Tally Ho Motel in Thayer on November 19th. During a search of the room and a pick-up truck of the Graven's, "blood evidence was located and collected from the inside of the vehicle."

UPDATE: Preliminary hearings are scheduled for February 6, 2009 for the Jonnathan Graven's, and January 14, 2009, for Jared Graven. There has not been a change of venue motion filed with the court yet in either case, but I do anticipate that happening.

The Gravens remain in the Howell County jail on one million dollars bail.

*****Photos from The West Plains Daily Quill:
Top photo: Jared Graven
Bottom photo: Jonnathan Graven