Double homicide investigation: Kansas man arrested in Oklahoma, facing Capital Murder charges

Joplin News First

Mark Gerald Hopkins II was apprehended early Monday morning by the Fairland, Oklahoma, Police Department

COLUMBUS, Kan. — A Columbus man has been arrested in Fairland, Oklahoma, and is facing Capital Murder charges stemming from a double homicide that was discovered in northwest Cherokee County in the former mining town of Carona, rural Scammon, early Sunday morning.

The suspect was charged late last evening for the murders of; Blaze Swank, age 27, of rural Scammon and Kylan Shook, age 19, of Pittsburg. Their bodies were discovered early Sunday morning.

Mark Gerald Hopkins II was apprehended overnight in northeast Oklahoma. The narrative below is from Chief Aaron Richardson of the Fairland, Oklahoma, Police Department.

“On [Sunday], June 14th, 2020, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a location in Northwest Cherokee County in reference to a double homicide. The investigation resulted in capital murder charges being filed on Mark Gerald Hopkins. At approximately 3 this morning, Fairland Police Officer TJ Burden located the suspect in [red mustang w/black hood] parked behind a closed business in Fairland. During the arrest, the suspect attempted to flee on foot. The suspect received a taser deployment and was successfully taken into custody.”

Fairland Oklahoma Police Department

Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves stated Monday, “Our detectives, along with agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, conducted dozens of interviews and served search warrants throughout the day Sunday, which led us to seek an arrest warrant for Mark Gerald Hopkins II,”

Cherokee County Attorney Jake Conard obtained an arrest warrant for Hopkins late Sunday evening, charging him with Capital Murder.

“Around 3:00 this morning, Hopkins was located [in] Fairland Oklahoma. Despite his attempt to flee on foot, he was apprehended and is now being held in the Ottawa County Oklahoma Jail, pending extradition back to Kansas.”

CAPITAL MURDER

We asked investigators if they would be seeking the death penalty in the case and we were referred to the the Kansas law below.

Universal Citation:
KS Stat § 21-5401 (2017)
21-5401. Capital murder. (a) Capital murder is the:
(6) intentional and premeditated killing of more than one person as part of the
same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together
or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct.

[2017 Kansas Statutes Chapter 21 CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS Article 54
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS 21-5401 Capital murder.]


Blaze and his girlfriend were taken from us Sunday morning, June 14. He was 27. There are no words that I can say to capture how much he meant to the people in his life, and how much everyone meant to him. While the family has most of the emotional toll, there is always the financial side of things. It’s no secret that we are not well-off. This is the most unexpected cost we could have ever encountered. I’m asking for donations in Blazes name for his final expenses. Anything leftover will go to his three children; Briley, Bailey and Blaze Jr. I know that not everyone can give, and I respectfully understand, if you’re unable to donate please send positive thoughts and prayers to the families who’ve lost their young loved ones. If you’re able to give, we sincerely thank you. Any future updates will be posted here or on Facebook. I encourage friends to share along with positive stories/photos of Blaze and/or Kylan.

ORIGINAL STORY CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. (Rural Scammon) — About 8:30 AM Sunday Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves tells us County Deputies were summoned to the NW portion of the county, near NW 20th and Cardinal Lane, to the small former mining town of Carona. It was there where someone reported to discover the bodies of two deceased adults. They had been shot.

Shortly after 4:00 PM Sunday the names of the victims were released; Blaze Swank, age 27, of rural Scammon and Kylan Shook, age 19, of Pittsburg.

Kansas Bureau of Investigations along with Cherokee County Investigators have been on the scene all day Sunday and they expect to be on site all day Monday examining evidence over a large area on the property. The bodies will be sent for autopsy.

“Our office was contacted at approximately 8:30 a.m. and responded to the scene, where investigators remain as they continue to process for evidence. In addition, investigative teams are interviewing family and friends of both victims as we work toward determining what events led up to their deaths,”

Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

Currently there is no one in custody and no one is publicaly named as a suspect. Sheriff Groves says they are not releasing that information as of now. But they are confident there is not a threat to the general public. He reminds everyone to always be vigilant, and if you feel you are in danger contact your local authorities.

Regarding this double homicide, anyone with information leading up to this crime is encouraged to contact law enforcement at 1-800-KS-CRIME, 620-429-3992 or by texting 888777. Just type ‘tip cherokee’ followed by the information.

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