FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The three men Fayetteville police say were involved in Saturday’s deadly stabbing were booked into jail Monday, following questioning by authorities.
Cory Lee Ryan faces a charge of capital murder, while Erick Picker and Stephen Scott face charges of being accomplices to capital murder. All remained in jail Monday night without bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The three suspects also face charges of theft of property and aggravated robbery. Police said they were involved in a drug deal at a Fayetteville motel that led to the stabbing death of a Hispanic man. Picker said Ryan stabbed the man with Scott’s knife during the deal, and Scott pulled the victim from the door and would not let him escape.
Ryan said he feared for his life and the stabbing was self-defense.
Police said the victim was taken from the Econo Lodge on Futrall Drive to Washington Regional Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries. The name of the man has not been released. His body was taken to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
At 7:24 p.m. on Saturday, officers were called to the Econo Lodge at 1000 S. Futrall Dr. for a stabbing incident, according to court documents. When officers got there, they found the victim, a Hispanic man, bleeding profusely from a stab wound on the left side of his neck. The man was unconscious when they found him, court documents state.
“It can be a very lethal wound, and that was the case here,” said Sgt. Craig Stout with the Fayetteville Police Department.
Eyewitnesses said they saw three white men flee from the room in a dark car with a Razorback logo on the front of the vehicle before police arrived, according to court documents. Investigators later learned that Ryan was staying in the room at the time of the stabbing, court documents state.
Video surveillance showed Ryan was a guest at the time of the stabbing, and a search warrant led to investigators finding property in the room that belonged to him, including a cell phone and a credit card, according to court documents.
Property belonging to Picker was also found in the room, court documents state.
Scott, 23, was arrested in Springdale on Sunday (Sept. 7) in an unrelated matter, and he told police he was present when the stabbing took place. He said Ryan stabbed the victim, Picker took money and car keys out of the victim’s pocket and the three men left in the victim’s vehicle, according to court documents.
The three men drove the vehicle to West End Studios at 1189 W. End. Ave. in Fayetteville, and Picker and Ryan both left Scott in the vehicle alone. Scott panicked and abandoned the vehicle at the Journey’s Inn motel at 3535 S. Thompson St. in Springdale. Police later found the vehicle there and recovered it, court documents state.
A tip was received on Monday saying that Ryan was hiding at a residence on East Ray Payne Drive in Fayetteville. At 5:07 a.m., he was located and arrested, according to court documents.
During in an interview, Ryan told police that Picker arranged to buy drugs from the victim but was worried the victim would rip them off. Picker texted Ryan prior to coming into the room to be ready in case the victim “tried something,” court documents state.
Ryan got a rock from the parking lot and brought it into the room, and later, an argument broke out between Picker and the victim, leading to a physical fight, according to court documents.
Ryan said he hit the victim in the head with the rock so they could get their money back. He also told police that someone (he didn’t identify who) pulled out a knife, and the victim began to attack Ryan, court documents state.
Fearing that the victim was going to kill him, Ryan said he grabbed the knife and stabbed the victim as he assaulted him, according to court documents.
Ryan told police he didn’t intend to stab the victim but instead wanted to get the victim off of him, court documents state.
Ryan said the victim collapsed to the floor after being stabbed, and the men went through the victim’s pockets, taking his money and car keys before fleeing the room, according to court documents.
“He’s in the commission of a crime whenever this took place, which is the purchase of drugs,” Stout said. “So, that still meets the criteria for capital murder.”
Picker told police Scott physically stopped the victim from leaving the room at the time of the stabbing, pulling him away from the door. He also said Scott had pulled the knife from his pants, but Ryan stabbed the victim, according to police.
The suspects’ first court hearings are scheduled for Sept. 10. Their arraignments are scheduled for Sept. 26, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.