Poplar Bluff murder suspect pleads not guilty - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Poplar Bluff murder suspect pleads not guilty

(Source: Poplar Bluff PD) (Source: Poplar Bluff PD)
Eric Wyatt (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Dept.) Eric Wyatt (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Dept.)
(Source: Nick Chabarria/KFVS) (Source: Nick Chabarria/KFVS)
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

A man accused of murdering his wife's grandmother has pleaded not guilty.

Eric Wyatt, 39, faces a charge of first degree murder.

According to Chief Danny Whiteley, Wyatt was arrested around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

In court on Friday, Wyatt waived arraignment and asked for bond reduction.

The judge denied that motion. Wyatt is being held without bond.

Whiteley said they got a tip on Thursday that Wyatt was at a home in the 1300 block of Spring Street in Poplar Bluff. They used cell phone technology to confirm his whereabouts.

Chief Whiteley said they surrounded the home and he tried to run out the back door, but they took Wyatt into custody without incident.

Police followed all leads trying to find Wyatt.

"Just keep an eye out and if you know him or if you see someone who matches that description, let the authorities know as soon as possible and he may have some friends who are not aware of what he did that would certainly not condone someone hurting or killing a 79-year-old lady," Chief Whiteley said.

The victim, Marion Carter, 79, of Poplar Bluff died of blunt force trauma.

"I would say he is dangerous," Chief Whiteley said of Wyatt. "He is either mentally unstable or on drugs or both and when you are dealing with someone like that, the citizens need to be aware of it."

Whiteley said Carter was killed around 3 p.m. in a home on Zhem Avenue. He described the crime scene as "gruesome."

Wyatt is the husband of Carter's granddaughter, according to Whiteley. She called 911 to report that a family member had been found dead in the home.

Court documents show that Carter's granddaughter, Wyatt, and a juvenile were at the home when officers arrived.

Carter was found in a recliner and officers said it was apparent that she had been hit several times in the head.

Wyatt was allowed to leave the home to take the juvenile to another home, according to the probable cause statement.

According to Whiteley, when investigators tried to interview Wyatt at his apartment, he threw something into the bushes and ran away.

That item was Carter's wallet, according to the probable cause.

Surveillance video from the apartment video showed Wyatt leaving the complex around 2:30 p.m. and returned around 4:45 p.m.

Minutes later, the video showed Wyatt leaving his apartment with a black trash bag. Investigators found the bag in the dumpster and found a pair of jeans with blood on them in it, according to the probable cause statement.

The investigator that filed the report wrote that a search of Wyatt's apartment turned up a pair of men's shoes that also had blood on them.

Wyatt's wife told investigators that Wyatt went straight to the shower when he got home, but she could not remember what he was wearing when he left the house.

According to Detective Josh Stewarts, Carter's granddaughter is not considered a suspect.

During an interview, the juvenile told investigators that he lived with Carter and when he got home from school, Wyatt and his wife met him outside the house.

The probable cause statement quotes the boy as saying that Wyatt told him Carter had been murdered, but that he didn't do it.

The boy said Wyatt was acting "weird" and kept saying "Oh my God, oh my God," according to court documents. He went on to say that he watched Wyatt wipe blood off his hands onto his clothing.

Investigators that were looking for evidence in the home noticed that one of Carter's pants pockets had been turned inside out, indicating that something had been taken out of it.

Court documents show that Carter's wallet was not at the home and believe that Wyatt took Carter's wallet which was found in the bushes near his apartment.

Wyatt is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on October 6.

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