MARSHALL COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - A man and a woman were arrested in Illinois in connection with shoplifting. Deputies say they were later linked to a homicide and an arson in Kentucky.
Joseph L. Cunningham, 38, and Kristy J. Keener were charged in Illinois with retail theft, possession of a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Arrest warrants were issued in McCracken County for Cunningham for second degree arson, first degree burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, second degree cruelty to animals and theft by unlawful taking (shoplifting) from Shooters Supply.
The McCracken County arrest warrant charges Keener with theft by unlawful taking (shoplifting) from Shooters Supply.
Cunningham is accused of murder in Marshall County, Ky. in connection with the death of Gary Lambert. Marshall County, Ky., deputies say charges against Keener are pending for a DNA analysis.
On March 25 at around 3:36 a.m., the Jefferson County, Ill. Sheriff's Office received a call about shoplifters at Love's Truck Stop in Ina.
Deputies say the vehicle left the truck stop, going northbound on Interstate 57.
Jefferson County deputies, Illinois State Police and officers with the Mount Vernon Police Department were in the area looking for the suspect vehicle when a deputy and a trooper found it in the Mt. Vernon area. They pulled the vehicle over.
Cunningham and Keener were in the vehicle. They were taken into custody.
Inside the vehicle, deputies day they found guns and evidence of other crimes.
Detectives were able to link Cunningham and Keener to a homicide in Marshall County, Ky. and an arson in McCracken County, Ky.
The two are being held in the Jefferson County Justice Center on charges there and a no-bond warrant from Kentucky. They bond in Jefferson County, Ill. is set at $250,000.
On Thursday, March 24 at about 10:30 a.m., a woman reported she found her home full of smoke and on fire. The home is located on Schneidman Road in McCracken County.
The Hendron Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.
According to the McCracken County Sheriff's Department, the fire was considered suspicious. Detectives and the Kentucky Fire Marshal responded to investigate.
Deputies say the fire had at least four points of origin.
It was determined the home had been burglarized. They say someone had broken into the home through a bedroom window.
According to deputies, jewelry and four guns were stolen. A .270 bold action rifle, 20 gauge shotgun, muzzleloader rifle and a small handgun were missing.
They say the resident's cat was found dead inside the home from what appeared to be smoke inhalation.
Cunningham was identified as a suspect or person of interest in the burglary and arson. Deputies began looking for him, for questioning, late on Thursday evening.
At around 5 a.m. on Friday, March 25, McCracken County deputies say they were notified by the Mt. Vernon Police Department that they had Cunningham and another Paducah resident, Kristy Keener, in custody.
Police said the two had what was believed to be stolen property from Shooters Supply in Paducah, along with guns.
According to McCracken County deputies, the guns are believed to be the ones stolen from the home on Schneidman Road.
Deputies say they also took a report from Shooters Supply at 3919 Cairo Road on Friday at around 10 a.m.
They say surveillance video indicated both Cunningham and Keener were in the store on Thursday afternoon and allegedly stole several pairs of boots and camouflage clothing.
The two suspects were believed to have been wearing the stolen clothing at the time of their arrest in Illinois.
According to McCracken County deputies, the vehicle Cunningham and Keener were driving belonged to Gary Lambert.
Cunningham is accused of killing Gary Lambert, 47, of Paducah, who was found dead by Marshall County deputies on Friday, March 25.
According to Detective Lieutenant Matt Hilbrecht, with the Marshall County, Ky. Sheriff's Office, Lambert was found dead in the yard at 147 Dalton Lane between Possum Trot and Sharpe.
An autopsy in Louisville on Saturday, March 26 indicated Lambert died of a single gunshot wound.
Det. Lt. Hilbrecht said the weapon believed to be the cause of death was seized by Illinois authorities.
According to the McCracken County Sheriff's Department, Cunningham has criminal convictions for receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, assault, bail jumping, theft and multiple DUIs.