Court documents state that one of the victims who was killed in the January triple homicide that occurred on Audubon Avenue feared for his life before the incident occurred. In fact, an affidavit for a search warrant shows that the victim had written messages stating his worry that he might be killed the day before he was murdered.
Owensboro Police Department issued a search warrant to obtain Facebook records and, through the investigation, uncovered messages between victim Robbie Smith and another woman. In these messages, Smith claims the woman had stolen money from him, even telling her that he “expected to be murdered if [she] did not act accordingly.”
The messages were investigated after OPD Detective Todd Wilkerson received information that the woman — who will remain unnamed as they are not a suspect in this case and their identity being made public could potentially cause harm — may have knowledge about the January 17 crime. A confidential informant claimed to know someone who had accessed the woman’s Facebook account.
The informant told detectives that the woman and Smith had been messaging back and forth prior to the murders, and that “those messages were indicative of [the woman] robbing Robbie Smith.”
The informant also told detectives that another woman had knowledge as to who’d put out the hit on the three murder victims.
After receiving Smith’s Facebook records, the aforementioned information corroborated the Facebook messages discovered by detectives. The Facebook messages between the woman and Smith discuss money, according to court documents.
“Specifically, on January 16, 2019, between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Smith demanded that [the woman] return his money,” Wilkerson wrote. “The messages between Smith and [the woman] contain multiple references to the potential of violence between the parties or other individuals if [the woman] did not bring back Smith’s money or deliver him the [expletive], which based on Affiant’s training and experience likely refers to illegal drugs.”
According to court documents, it appears that the woman and Smith had been using Facebook Messenger to conduct drug transactions.
The triple homicide took the lives of Smith, Jay Sowders and Chris Carie after the three were shot in the basement of the residence at 940 Audubon Ave. A fourth victim, Carmen Navegas, was also shot, and was the only one of the four to survive.
After detectives retrieved video footage from the residence, as well as statements from those who had information about the case, OPD arrested Arnett Baines and Cylar Shemwell for their involvement in the homicides. Daviess Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Kuegel is seeking the death penalty for Baines, who was charged with three counts of murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of torturing a dog or cat that resulted in the animal’s death, while Shemwell has been charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree assault.
Meanwhile, Shemwell’s attorney, Leigh A. Jackson, has filed an order for a psychiatric examination, treatment and evaluation to determine whether Shemwell is mentally ill, has an intellectual disability and/or is competent to stand trial. This comes after the defense counsel asserted Shemwell is not mentally capable of understanding the charges against him, or aiding his counsel in the trial of said case.
Baines attended a pretrial conference on Monday, where a trial date was scheduled for March 8, 2021.