The third of seven suspects arrested in connection with the death of a Hot Springs man whose body was found dumped at Greenwood Cemetery last year has pleaded guilty to his part in disposing of the body and covering up the crime.
James Dean Keyser III, 28, pleaded guilty Monday in Garland County Circuit Court to a felony count of tampering with physical evidence and was sentenced to five years' probation, fined $500 and ordered to pay $420 in court costs.
Keyser was charged in connection with the death of Cory Richardson, 31, whose body was found Oct. 23, 2017, next to the cemetery's main entrance at 701 Greenwood Ave.
Keyser also pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia from an unrelated case and was also sentenced to five years' probation, to run concurrently with the tampering sentence, fined $500 and ordered to pay $295 in court costs. An additional felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia and a misdemeanor count of carrying a weapon were withdrawn.
Two accomplices, Melissa Jere Wineland, 38, and Jake Lynn Norwood, 29, both of Hot Springs, previously pleaded guilty to the same charge as Keyser. Norwood pleaded guilty July 23 and was sentenced to the maximum of six years in prison while Wineland pleaded guilty Oct. 8 and was sentenced to six years in prison with four years suspended.
Police have arrested four other suspects on various charges in connection with the death of Richardson. An autopsy determined Richardson died as the result of a gunshot entering his upper left buttocks and exiting his abdomen. There was also evidence of post-mortem injuries, including blunt force trauma to his head and a stab wound to his left thigh.
Wineland was arrested Oct. 24, 2017, the day after Richardson's body was found, Norwood was arrested Nov. 5, 2017, and Keyser was arrested Nov. 24, 2017. On Nov. 15, 2017, police arrested Steven Wood, 43, of Hot Springs, on a felony charge of first-degree murder. Stephanie Shell, 22, of Malvern, was arrested at the same time and charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, punishable by up to 20 years.
A disposition hearing for Shell is set for Monday in circuit court, and Wood is set to stand trial on Feb. 12.
In early December 2017, Hot Springs police asked for the public's help in locating Donald Franklin Williams, 55, and John Patrick Walker, 43, both being sought for first-degree murder in Richardson's death. Walker was arrested Dec. 19, 2017, in Garland County and Williams was arrested in Rockwall, Texas, on Dec. 29, 2017.
Williams, who was facing several felony charges in Texas at the time of his arrest there, is still awaiting extradition to Hot Springs. If convicted, Williams, Walker and Wood could face up to life in prison.
According to previous affidavits, Richardson was killed or severely wounded at 106 N. Patterson St., Wineland's residence, and transported by car to the cemetery. The car was located and searched the day Richardson was found and reportedly had a large amount of blood in the back seat.