Brutal slaying: Prosecutor says boy will be tried as adult in brother's death

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A 17-year-old Carroll County boy was arrested Tuesday and charged with capital murder in the brutal slaying of his 21-year-old brother, and prosecutors plan to charge the boy as an adult.

A probable cause affidavit released by the Carroll County Sheriff's Office says the younger brother admitted to investigators that he killed his brother with a baseball bat and stabbed him with a sword before taking a shower, changing clothes and watching television.

Carroll County's chief deputy prosecuting attorney, Devon Still, said Thursday that prosecutors intend to charge the 17-year-old as an adult in circuit court.

CCSO deputies responding to a call from the brothers' father, Robert Keever, found the body of Alex Santiago in the living room of a mobile home at 92 Carroll County Road 219, in the Grandview area northwest of Berryville.

The probable cause affidavit written by CCSO investigator Lt. Jerry Reddick says Santiago had "extensive trauma to his head and had a sword sticking out of his mid-section."

A baseball bat found near the body was covered in blood, and a scabbard for the sword was found lying on the bed in the master bedroom where the 17-year-old had been, the affidavit says.

Keever's name and the names of both sons were redacted from a copy of the affidavit provided by the sheriff's office, but Keever and Alex Santiago were identified in an earlier news release from the CCSO.

The affidavit says deputies responding to the residence spoke with Keever in the front yard and he told them his younger son was still in the back bedroom watching television. The affidavit says that during his initial call to the sheriff's office, Keever indicated that Alex Santiago was autistic.

After speaking with Keever, Reddick's affidavit says, deputies entered the residence, called the 17-year-old out of the bedroom and took him into custody without incident. He was then transported to the sheriff's office in Berryville, where the affidavit says he waived his Miranda rights and spoke with Reddick and investigator Mark Ashby.

In addition to admitting that he killed his brother, the affidavit says the 17-year-old also admitted to setting a fire at the family's previous residence, at the Osage Trailer Park on Carroll County Road 306, in April 2016. According to the affidavit, the boy said he locked his brother in his room and then poured gasoline on the floor before setting the home on fire.

CCSO Chief Deputy Maj. George Frye confirmed Thursday that deputies had responded to the residence on Jan. 6 to check on an individual who was reportedly suicidal. Frye said privacy laws prevented him from discussing the subject's medical condition, and that he could not identify the subject because that individual was a minor.

The 17-year-old is charged with capital murder, attempted capital murder and arson. He had his first judicial appearance on Wednesday before District Court Judge Dale Ramsey.

Ramsey found sufficient probable cause on all charges to have the 17-year-old held without bond until his next scheduled court appearance on Feb. 6 in Berryville Circuit Court. He is being held at the Benton County Detention Center.

A benefit account for the Keever/Santiago family is being established at Cornerstone Bank.

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