Triple murder suspect in Oklahoma and Alabama killings apprehended in Arkansas

A man "escalating his violent behavior" — and linked to at least three slayings in Oklahoma and Alabama — was arrested in Arkansas on Thursday, authorities said.

Stacy Lee Drake, 50, "was located and arrested this morning in Arkansas by the Morrilton Police Department and Arkansas State Police," according to a statement by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Stacy Lee Drake, 50, was last seen on foot outside a motel (Arkansas Dept. of Public Safety)
Stacy Lee Drake, 50, was last seen on foot outside a motel (Arkansas Dept. of Public Safety)

“If you look at his criminal history, he was continuously escalating his violent behavior,” Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Capt. Jack Kennedy told reporters Thursday. “So he is now at least responsible for three, possibly four homicides that we know about in the last two months.”

“So I would not be surprised if there’s other homicides out there that are unsolved in other jurisdictions,” Kennedy said.

“Because of his lifestyle, using false names, having no fixed address, no employment records, changing and altering his appearance and then immediately fleeing in multiple, multiple, multiple states away from the scenes of his crimes,” he added.

Arkansas State Police had warned residents in and around Morrilton, which is about 50 miles northwest of Little Rock, to keep their eyes out for Drake.

The suspect appeared to be transient with previous addresses in Oklahoma and Arizona, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Capt. Jack Kennedy said in Alabama.

He'd spent several recent days in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, where a man and woman were killed at a propane gas store and a car was stolen Tuesday night, local and state officials said. Those slayings happened about 120 miles west of Morrilton.

In Tuscaloosa County, he's been accused of killing well-liked Alcoholics Anonymous counselor Russell Andrews, 62, on or about May 14, officials there said.

Investigators knew Drake's name in about 24 hours, but didn't make it public, banking that they'd have an upper hand if he believed detectives didn't know his name, Kennedy said.

Andrews was shot to death, in a slaying that stunned the community.

"No one had a bad thing to say about him," Kennedy said. "He was a long-term worker or volunteer there at AA, and that’s probably why he got picked to be a victim, honestly, because he stayed behind with this gentleman."

Drake has also been called a "person of interest" in the death of 56-year-old Phillip Emerson, in El Reno, Oklahoma, Assistant Police Chief Kirk Dickerson said Thursday.

Police were initially investigating an "unattended death" on Friday before concluding that Emerson "had suffered fatal injuries consistent with homicide," according to Dickerson.