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3 Arrested in Slaying Though Body Not Found


Three people were arrested in a torture-murder case in which no body was found after they admitted--and in several instances bragged about--their roles in the crime, it was revealed in court Tuesday.

A preliminary hearing is being held to determine if the three should stand trial on murder charges for killing Irene (Melanie) May in June, 1988. In addition to attacking her with a knife, a screwdriver and a frying pan, they allegedly injected the victim with battery acid.

Richard L. Cooksey, a district attorney investigator with the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force, testified Tuesday that Mark Lee Thompkins, 29; Kerry Lyn Dalton, 39; and Sheryl Ann Baker, 28, implicated themselves in the murder in a mobile home in the isolated East County community of Live Oak Springs.

According to one of his acquaintances, Thompkins explained how the three planned to give May a fatal injection in retribution for stealing some items belonging to Dalton, Cooksey testified.

Thompkins said the victim was given electrical shocks and then a skillet was used to smash her knees, according to the statement given by Donald McNeely.

The body was cut up and the parts were buried on two Indian reservations to make it hard for police to obtain search warrants, Cooksey quoted McNeely as saying.

Dalton and Baker also allegedly admitted to other people their role in the killing, according to the evidence.

Municipal Judge Lawrence Stirling is expected to decide if the three should stand trial in Superior Court at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing.

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