Jasper Police Lieutenant Garrett Foster announced on Friday morning that 53-year-old Royce Edward Larkin has now been charged with murder, and his bond has been set at $1 million.
Foster also released the preliminary autopsy results on 61-year-old Judy McKinney Arnold. Foster said “According to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner Office, Arnold suffered multiple stab wounds that punctured the lungs which lead to her death”.
Jasper Police responded to the Rodeway Inn on Highway 190 at about 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11th after Police Chief Gerald Hall said dispatchers received a 911 call from a person who wouldn’t give them any information, but just told them that they needed to get to that motel.
Hall said Sergeant Cody Christopher was first on scene and he arrived to find Larkin covered with blood with his hands in the air, and he told Christopher that the blood was not his. Hall said Christopher then found Arnold in the driver seat of her brand new 2019 Chrysler 300 sedan with multiple stab wounds.
Larkin was immediately detained, and Arnold was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jimmy Miller.
Meanwhile, family members have told KJAS News that earlier on Wednesday, Arnold told Larkin that she was ending their 21-year relationship. Police haven’t said how the two ended up on the parking lot of the Rodeway Inn Motel.
Judy McKinney Arnold was a 27-year veteran educator in Jasper ISD and was currently teaching at Few Primary School. Jasper ISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Steve Hyden said on Thursday that grief counselors were available for both students and staff.
The following is the full press release from Jasper PD Lieutenant Garrett Foster:
On 9/11/19 the Jasper Police Department received a 911 call from a male individual advising the dispatcher that officers were needed at the Roadway Inn motel. The caller would not provide any information as to why he needed officers or his identity.
Officers arrived at the Rodeway Inn to find a 53-year-old black male suspect covered in blood standing in the breezeway on the west side of the motel. The suspect put his hands up and turned around for officers voluntarily and placed his hands behind his back. The suspect told officers that the blood was not his. The suspect advised officers that the blood was from a female who was sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2019 Chrysler 300. Officers found the victim, later identified as 61-year-old Judy McKinney Arnold, in the driver seat with what appeared to be stab wounds to the upper portion of her body. Emergency Medical Technicians arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and the victim was non-responsive. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jimmy Miller pronounced Arnold deceased at the scene.
The victim and suspect had been in a dating relationship for approximately 21 years but when asked the suspect would not give any details of the incident or to the motive.
An autopsy was ordered and will be performed by the Jefferson County Medical Examiners office. The name of the suspect has not been released at this time pending formal charges and arraignment.
On 9/12/19 the suspect in this case, 53-year-old Royce Edward Larkin, was officially arraigned by Municipal Judge Robert Jackson and charged with Murder. Judge Jackson placed a 1-million-dollar bond on Larkin. According to the Jefferson County Medical Examiner Office Arnold suffered multiple stab wounds that punctured the lungs which lead to her death.