Suspects returned to face murder charge
JONATHAN RICHARD DAVIS Jonathan Richard Davis, 18, is escorted from a private plane by four Lauderdale County deputies Saturday as he arrives at Key Field in Meridian. The law enforcement officers pictured are Maj. Ward Calhoun, left, Deputy Brian Fortenberry, partially obscured, Deputy Paul Earley and Sgt. Michael Street. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 1, 2002
Red-and-white stripes on the inmate uniforms of Eric Michael Thomas and Jonathan Richard Davis were the first things distinguishable inside the small, private plane as it taxied off the runway at Meridian Regional Airport.
Both men have been charged with capital murder in the death of Lauderdale County resident Stanley Lyles.
Deputies picked them up Saturday morning in Grant County, Kentucky, and returned them under tight security to Key Field.
Thomas, 20, is a Meridian resident who lists his address as 401 55th Ave. Davis, 18, is a U.S. Marine from Green Cove Springs, Fla., stationed at Naval Air Station Meridian.
The two men were involved in a traffic accident in northern Kentucky on Aug. 23; they were driving Lyles' sport utility vehicle. Kentucky officials called the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. Deputies discovered the 47-year-old's body when they went to his house on Sneed Road that night to check on him.
Maj. Ward Calhoun said evidence found by the Kentucky State Police in the SUV, or on the suspects, was also aboard the plane.
An autopsy revealed that Lyles died of multiple stab wounds.
Rosemary Para, 20, a woman enlisted in the U.S. Navy and stationed at NAS Meridian, has also been arrested in connection with the death. She was charged Monday as an accessory after the fact of burglary and remains in the Lauderdale County Jail on $50,000 bond.
The case is expected to be presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury in November 2002 or March 2003.