Another Arrest Made in Smith Co. Murder - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/15/02 - Smith Co

Another Arrest Made in Smith Co. Murder

There has been a third person charged with the capital murder of a Smith County man. 

Jeffrey Joplin was found dead in his Smith County home last Wednesday.  In custody already were Joplin's ex-girlfriend, and her new boyfriend, and now we're told this third arrest may not be the last.

Sheriff's investigators are looking closely at two other men who also might have a connection... but 21-year old Joseph Walton is the latest to be taken in on murder charges. He's believed to be an acquaintance of Heather Mizer and Shawn Willhelm, who are already in custody. Mizer was the victim's ex-girlfriend... Willhelm, apparently her new boyfriend.

Joplin was stabbed and strangled, but early autopsy results now show that blunt force trauma was the cause of death. That's one new development.

Also what might be a big break is a computer that Joplin apparently had hooked up to surveillance cameras at his home. That computer was missing when his body was found.  Now... it has been found.... By swimmers, under water at Lake Palestine.

"We don't have any idea what's on there, in fact the computer was found under water, and there's going to be a process to restore the component parts and things of that nature, and hopefully we will be able to determine what was recorded onto the computer if anything," said Capt. Mike Lusk of the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

A person interviewed by police has suggested that one of the suspects was indeed caught on camera.  The computer is at the FBI now, and they're hopeful any images or other data can be recovered.

As for a possible motive, several have been put forward... robbery, drugs, or jealousy.  But nothing pinned down yet. Captain Lusk says the investigation is not close to being over.

 

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