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UPDATE: Motel Murder Suspects Indicted

By: WSAZ News Email
By: WSAZ News Email
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UPDATE 5/17/13 @ 2:15 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The three people charged in connection with a murder at a motel in Pomeroy, Ohio have now been indicted by a Meigs County Grand Jury.

Wallace Chafin, 57, of Pomeroy, Ohio, was a guest at the Meigs Motel. He was found dead shortly after midnight last Thursday.

According to the criminal complaints filed in Meigs County Court, Chafin was stabbed to death.

A motive for the crime has not been released.

On Friday, the three people arrested following the murder were indicted.

According to court records, the indictments charge Ryan Cozart, 32, of Racine, with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

Ariel Smith, 22, of Pomeroy, is charged with complicity to felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

Sara Craig, 33, of Portland, Ohio, is charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and receiving stolen property.

The three are expected to be arraigned Monday morning.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/10/13 @ 1:25 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The three people charged in connection with a murder at a motel in Pomeroy, Ohio made their first court appearance Friday morning

The Meigs County Sheriff says the victim, Wallace Chafin, 57, of Pomeroy, Ohio, was a guest at the Meigs motel and was found dead shortly after midnight Thursday.

According to the criminal complaints filed in Meigs County Court, Chafin died after being stabbed.

Ryan Cozart, 32, of Racine, is charged with Chafin’s murder. Ariel Smith, 22, of Pomeroy, and Sara Craig, 33, of Portland, Ohio, are both charged with complicity to murder.

During their arraignment Friday morning, bond for Cozart and Craig was set at $1 million cash each. Smith’s bond was set at $750,000 cash. Their preliminary hearings were set for May 17.

A motive for the crime has not been released.

Meigs County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Cozart and Craig after they returned to the crime scene in the victim's car. Smith was arrested at a home in Portland, Ohio.

Craig was actually on house arrest for meth charges in Meigs County. According to investigators, Craig cut her house arrest bracelet and left her home.



UPDATE 5/10/13 @ 10:45 a.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The three people charged in connection with a murder at a motel in Pomeroy, Ohio early Thursday morning are expected to be arraigned Friday

The Meigs County Sheriff says the victim, Wallace Chafin, 57, of Pomeroy, Ohio, was a guest at the Meigs motel.

According to the criminal complaints filed in Meigs County Court, Chafin died after being stabbed.

Ryan Cozart, 32, of Racine, is charged with Chafin’s murder. Ariel Smith, 22, of Pomeroy, and Sara Craig,33, of Portland, Ohio, are both charged with complicity to murder.

Investigators with the sheriff's office arrested Cozart and Craig after they returned to the crime scene in the victim's car. Smith was arrested at a home in Portland, Ohio.

Craig was actually on house arrest for meth charges in Meigs County. According to investigators, Craig cut her house arrest bracelet and left her home.

A motive has not been released in the case.

The three are expected to be arraigned at 11 a.m. in Meigs County Court.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/9/13 @ 6:15 p.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Rita Matthews lives just over the hill from the Meigs Motel. The news of a murder there was what she woke up to Thursday.

“We watched the morning news, and that's when we found out it was right down here,” Matthews said.

Rita says past crime, like a meth lab bust at the motel last summer, have made her and other neighbors nervous.

“Scary,” Matthews said. “Because when we first moved up here, it was real quiet. And now there's a lot more traffic.”

Last night, that traffic included three murder suspects. The Sheriff says Ryan Cozart killed Wallace Chafin inside room 22 just before midnight last night. Two women, Ariel Smith and Sara Craig are accused of being accomplices. It took the sheriff's office less than two hours to make an arrest in the case, after a big mistake by the suspects.

“We had a basic description and then the guy points over and says, well that's the vehicle right there, pulling in,” Sheriff Keith Wood said.

Two of the suspects, Cozart and Craig, returned to the crime scene with the sheriff himself sitting in the parking lot.

“Very shocked,” Wood said. “Just the hit in the stomach to thing that's the person that did this maybe. So it was a real quick decision to get them stopped and apprehend them for sure.”

They were arrested at the scene. Ariel smith was taken into custody at a home in Portland, Ohio.

The arrests were a relief for neighbors. But the crime won't be soon forgotten.

“It kinda hardens you in a way,” Matthews said. “Just do our best and try to keep safe up here.”



UPDATE 5/9/13 @ 12:30 p.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Three people are facing charges after investigators say a man was murdered at a motel in Pomeroy, Ohio.

According to the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, Wallace Chafin, 57, of Pomeroy, Ohio, was found dead in a motel in Pomeroy. Chafin was a guest at the motel.

Deputies received a call about 12:15 a.m. Thursday, but believe the crime happened about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, Ryan Cozart, 32, of Racine, Ohio, Ariel Smith, 22, of Portland, Ohio and Sara Craig, 33, of Portland, Ohio, are all being charged in connection with the murder.

Cozart is being charged with murder, and Craig and Smith are both being charged with complicity to commit murder.

According to investigators, Cozart and Craig were arrested about 1:50 a.m. Thursday after returning to the crime scene in the victim's car. Smith was arrested at a home on Durst Road in Portland, Ohio.

Craig was actually on house arrest for meth charges in Meigs County. According to investigators, Craig cut her house arrest bracelet and left her home.

No information is being released at this time as to how or why Chafin was killed.

Chafin's body has been sent for an autopsy.

We have a crew in Meigs County and will have the latest information tonight at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/9/13 @ 8:30 a.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A homicide investigation is underway following a man’s death at a motel in Pomeroy, Ohio.

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood says deputies were called to the Meigs Motel about 12:15 Thursday morning.

Wood tells WSAZ.com that two women and a man are in custody. He also says there are several witnesses that say they saw what happened. Those people are currently being interviewed by investigators.

The Sheriff is not releasing the man’s name or how he died, but does say he is not from Meigs County. He is also unable to say at this time if the victim and the three people in custody were guests at the motel. He also believes the man died sometime about 11:30 p.m.

Wood also tells WSAZ.com that investigators are processing several evidence areas -- the motel, several cars and a residence. The area around the motel remains blocked off.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also on the scene.

Wood says no charges have been filed at this time.

We have a crew at the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/9/13 @4:15 a.m.
POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Meigs County Sheriff's Office and Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney are investigating a homicide at the Meigs Motel in Pomeroy.

It happened Wednesday night.

Three suspects are in custody. Agents from the Meigs County Sheriff's Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification are currently on scene.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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