Charges against a man arrested this week in a four-year-old murder appear headed for the grand jury in just a few days.
Mark F. Stevens, 48, of 285 Bells Run Road, Newport, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of murder in the 2008 death of 42-year-old Patrick Arnold, who lived across the street from him. He is being held in the Washington County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing for Stevens had been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in Marietta Municipal Court. However, the Washington County Prosecutor's Office filed a motion to continue it, citing intentions to take the case to a grand jury, according to county Public Defender Ray Smith, who is representing Stevens.
The motion was granted and the hearing rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Meanwhile, county Prosecutor Jim Schneider said Friday he asked Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane to convene a special grand jury at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Schneider said he cannot discuss what case or cases might be presented, but anticipates a report by the grand jury that afternoon.
Washington County Sheriff's deputies received information about a month ago from a confidential informant they were interviewing who said Stevens admitted his involvement in the murder. After recording conversations between Stevens and the informant, deputies arrested Stevens, who at first denied the accusation but later said he was there the night Arnold died. He claimed the men struggled for a gun and it went off, striking Arnold.
Sheriff Larry Mincks said Friday that investigators continued to search for the murder weapon. They spent most of Wednesday and Thursday morning on the property where Arnold died, using an excavator to aid them in their search. No weapon has been recovered, Mincks said.
Neighbors have described Stevens as someone who acted strangely and made people uncomfortable, sometimes walking into houses uninvited.