2 men arrested for murder after 2 bodies found in vacant Fort Smith house

Local News

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Two men have been arrested for murder after two bodies were found in a vacant Fort Smith house earlier this March.

Marion Ray Brown, a 54-year-old resident of Idabela, Oklahoma, and Mark Trenton Williams, a 61-year-old Fort Smith man, are charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, according to a release on Wednesday from the Fort Smith Police Department.

Mark Trenton Williams (left) and Marion Ray Brown (right)

On March 15, police responded to 400 N. 12th Street, a vacant house authorities say was known to be frequented by the local homeless population, regarding a person inside the residence.

Authorities say the home was overflowing with trash and, upon entry, police discovered a decomposing male body, later identified as 40-year-old Terry Randell Beall.

Two days later, while still processing the scene, which contained “years of trash and debris from the prior household and unauthorized homeless inhabitants,” investigators found the body of 44-year-old Amanda Knecht.

According to court documents, officers helped identify Beall through evidence at the scene, including his wallet with a California identification, Social Security card, and a prescription pill bottle in his name.

Knecht was identified through family members, as she had a distinct tattoo on her left ankle.

The medical examiner confirmed that both bodies had stab wounds. The examiner said both were likely killed by a cut to the neck.

According to documents filed in the Sebastian County Circuit Court, investigators believe the deaths occurred on January 28.

Brown and Williams were identified as persons of interest and ultimately suspects, according to Aric Mitchell with the Fort Smith Police Department.

After an investigation, two warrants for the men were obtained with the assistance of the Sebastian County Prosecutors Office.

A $500,000 cash bond has been set with regard to the homicide charges. Both men are set to be arraigned on April 1, 2020.

Information as to how Brown and Williams were identified as suspects is not available at this time.

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