On the night of July 7, two women huddled in the back bedroom of the mobile home at 6108 Big Wood Court in rural Tarrant County. From another room, they could hear the cries of 34-year-old Earnest Ray Lackey, as three men hog-tied and beat him for hours until, at some point, the screams stopped and Lackey's lifeless body was taken from the house.
In subsequent interviews with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department first reported by CBS 11 the women gave a motive for the killing: Lackey falsely claimed membership in the Aryan Brotherhood. The other men, all of whom had recently served time in prison and actually were members of the white supremacist group, sought to teach him a lesson.
Lackey's body wasn't found until August 2, when two women were walking through a vacant field near Eagle Mountain Lake and saw a human form, crudely wrapped. The Tarrant County medical examiner's office identified the badly decomposed body as Lackey's last week, though it has not officially determined the cause of death.
The men believed to have killed him -- Staten "Monster" Corbett Jr., Jimmy "Jimbo" Riddle and Ronnie Freeman Jr. -- were arrested separately in the weeks following the alleged beating on unrelated charges. Since then, they have been kept housed separately in the Tarrant County Jail as investigators build their case. Each has been charged with murder, with bail set at $100,000.
Tarrant County Sheriff's Department spokesman Terry Grisham was quick to distance his department from the claim that the alleged murder was tied to the membership of Corbett, Riddle, and Freeman in the Aryan brotherhood. It was a witness, and not law enforcement, who made that claim.
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"We've developed information to the point that we were able to write search warrants and then arrest warrants to charge three individuals with the death of a fourth man." The Aryan Brotherhood connection provides a possible motive but "really isn't relevant to the case."
When asked whether the Aryan Brotherhood had a strong presence in Tarrant County, he was again careful. Grisham said he knew of no crimes that the group had taken credit for.
"The Aryan Brotherhood doesn't leave calling cards if they're involved with a crime."