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Investigators follow leads in murder case

<p>Members of the Logan County Sheriff’s Department, 15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum of Danville and Deputy Prosecutor Brian Mueller of Booneville look over the front yard of a residence near Paris with the body of a 33-year-old black male was found Tuesday, May 14, 2013. An investigator with the Sheriff’s Department said the case is being treated as a homicide.</p>

Members of the Logan County Sheriff’s Department, 15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum of Danville and Deputy Prosecutor Brian Mueller of Booneville look over the front yard of a residence near Paris with the body of a 33-year-old black male was found Tuesday, May 14, 2013. An investigator with the Sheriff’s Department said the case is being treated as a homicide.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Department has developed and is following up on leads in an attempt to solve the murder of a 33-year-old black male last week.

“We’re interviewing people,” Logan County Deputy Sheriff Jason Massey said Monday. “In fact, we’re interviewing people today. We are following leads but we’re not releasing anything.”

The body Joseph Stapleton was found in the front yard of a house on North Fifth Street near Paris on Tuesday, May 14.

Stapleton of Paris suffered multiple “points of trauma” to his head and torso, according to Sheriff Department’s Chief Investigator Deputy Ray Gack. Gack refused to say what caused the trauma but added “there were several shell casings” located around the body and that a nearby resident reported hearing “some gunfire, multiple rounds being fired” Monday evening, May 13.

“We do have some leads and we’re following up on them as we speak,” Sheriff Steve Smith said last week. “I’d say the leads are promising, and I think they can lead us to something.”

Stapleton lived in the home with his father, who is hospitalized, Gack said.

The body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory on Wednesday morning, April 15 for an autopsy, Gack said.

“We’re treating this as a homicide until we know something different,” he said.

Gack said an individual came to the house around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to feed animals, discovered the body and called 911. Once deputies arrived, Gack said they secured the area and awaited a search warrant.

There was no sign of forced entry into the residence, which sits near the dead end of a dirt road, Gack said.

Gack asked that anyone having information about the case call the Logan County Sheriff’s Department at 479-963-3271.

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