Four murder suspects in deaths of elderly couple plead not guilty

Published: Jul. 21, 2010 at 4:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2010 at 11:49 PM CDT
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By Heartland News

DONIPHAN, MO (KFVS) - The three Youngbloods and the daughter's boyfriend pleaded not guilty to murder charges Wednesday in Doniphan.

David Youngblood, his wife Melissa, his 17-year-old daughter Chantale, and 18-year-old Keith Boyles, Chantale's boyfriend are charged with the murder of Edgar Atkinson and Bonnie Chase.  Both were found dead in their burned home.  Atkinson had a gunshot wound to the back and head. The four suspects also face arson and burglary charges.

"We are happy to have them off the streets," said Sheriff Ron Barnett. "We are confident we have the right people."

Authorities want to know if the four of them are connected to a fire that killed an elderly couple.  The Piatt couple was found inside their burned home on June 23.  Besides similarities in the fires, there's also a family connection. David Youngblood is the Piatt's nephew.

Their bodies will be exhumed Thursday for an autopsy.

"It's important to note right now they are just charged with the murder of Atkinson and Chase," said Barnett. "An autopsy will look for signs of foul play after the bodies of the Piatt's are exhumed."

Meanwhile, Deborah Youngblood who is David's sister says her family is torn up over the arrest, and the loss of the Piatt's, her late aunt and uncle.

"We want everyone to remember David and Melissa and Chantale are innocent until proven guilty. We want to see everyone do their job. We want justice. We are grieving and this has been very difficult," said Deborah Youngblood. "We are concerned for David and Melissa's two young children who are in protective custody. I know that David's been in trouble before but he deserves a fair trial."

Deborah Youngblood says the Piatt's were good people.

"They were good to my brother," said Deborah Youngblood. "It's hard for me to imagine he would do something like this to them."

Bond was denied for each suspect.  Their next court date is August 11.

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