TEXARKANA, Ark. — An Oklahoma couple accused of kidnapping and killing a man whose body was discovered at Texarkana Speedway in August 2011 will not face the death penalty, a federal official said Wednesday.
"We are not seeking the death penalty for the Larcades," said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge.
Leslie Bruce Larcade, 47, and Chrystal Lynn Larcade, 37, could be sentenced to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty of kidnapping resulting in death in connection with the death of Shannon Deval Watkins.
Eldridge said the U.S. attorney general has the final say in cases in which the law provides death as a possible punishment. Eldridge said he could not comment on the specifics of how the decision against seeking the death penalty was reached.
The Larcades are both charged in a federal indictment with kidnapping resulting in death and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The conspiracy charge is punishable by up to life in federal prison. Each offense also includes the possibility of a fine up to $250,000.
Watkins, 45, was found dead about 8:45 a.m. Aug. 13, 2011, at Texarkana Speedway, according to court documents used to create the following account. Watkins had a black trash bag over his head and a tightly pulled noose around his neck. His feet were bound with duct tape and his wrists had wounds consistent with being bound. Two large gashes were visible on his forehead and he had been stabbed. An autopsy later revealed Watkins asphyxiated by hanging.
The Larcades allegedly kidnapped Watkins from Broken Bow to collect a $1,000 bounty being offered on Facebook by a former Texarkana pawn shop employee. The former pawn shop employee has not been charged in the case.
The Larcades have been in custody since Aug. 13.
Leslie Larcade is represented by Texarkana defense attorneys Craig Henry and Jason Mitchell. Chrystal Larcade is represented by Texarkana lawyers Jeff Harrelson and John Pickett.
The couple is scheduled for a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in April at the federal courthouse in downtown Texarkana.