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Stacey Devine was, according to all her friends and co-workers in Jonesboro, Arkansas, something of a saint. She worked two jobs, supported her husband Charles, and still found time to do her friends’ hair, make them laugh or even lend them money when needed.
In February 2016, however, she was found strangled and dumped in a ditch off a dirt road a couple miles from her home, according to “Cold Justice” on Oxygen.
Just a couple of days before her murder, Stacey told a friend that she was preparing to go through a rough divorce. She said her husband was controlling despite his reliance on her to make ends meet, according to a recording of the call provided to Jonesboro police.
Still, Stacey remained positive on the call.
“I’m not upset, I’m not mad,” she said. “Everything’s gonna fall into place for me.”
Former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and investigator Steve Spingola, of “Cold Justice,” teamed up with Lt. Kenny Oldham and Sgt. Mike McCanless of the Jonesboro Police Department last year to give the case another look.
Oldham recalled promising Stacey’s grown children, Emonie and Emanuel Newell, during the initial investigation that he would never give up.
“It’s very important to me,” he said. “I won’t let them down.”
The Devines’ three-year marriage fell apart quickly, friends told investigators, with both parties carrying on affairs. Stacey was taking money from her bank account and putting it into her husband’s so he could “be a man and pay the bills,” one friend said.
An unidentified woman who had a relationship with Stacey before her murder alleged to investigators that Charles became violent toward the end. One day, Stacey came into her work at a department store with a black eye. Another friend recalled her being late to work one day because Charles allegedly locked her car in the garage.
Charles was the only person investigators could find that may have wished Stacey harm, Siegler noted. However, Stacey’s husband had an alibi: He left the house shortly before the team believed Stacey was murdered, then went job hunting in a few locations.
Siegler’s team enlisted Eric Devlin, a digital forensics expert to analyze Charles’ cell phone data. While Devlin did his work, the team interviewed a number of people close to Stacey — and all of them backed up the narrative of an allegedly abusive marriage nearing an end. One friend, however, alleged that Stacey was planning to make her children the beneficiaries of her $250,000 life insurance policy rather than Charles.
Charles also allegedly once told Stacey, “If you leave me, can’t nobody else have you,” according to her friend.
Devlin’s report on Charles’ cellphone activity appeared to decimate his alibi. Charles’s phone pinged off towers near the places he was allegedly looking for work at least an hour before Charles claimed he was there. Worse, Devlin found almost-constant communication from near the couple’s home the afternoon of Stacey’s death, as well as pings off towers near where her body was dumped the next day.
When Siegler, Spingola, McCanless and Oldham tried to confront Charles at his home about the conflicting information, he appeared to hide out. He also called out sick from work the next day. A warrant was issued and he was arrested by Osceola police and U.S. Marshals on July 26, 2019, according to local NBC affiliate KAIT8.
“Cold cases don’t get much better than this,” Siegler said, before giving the good news to Emorie and Emanuel.
Charles is scheduled for trial the week of July 13, according to Arkansas court records. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Grant DeProw, who accepted the charges, is currently handling the case, Siegler told Oxygen.com.
For more on the Stacey Devine case, including Stacey’s heart-wrenching phone call before her death, watch “Cold Justice” at Oxygen.com, and airing Saturdays at 6/5c.
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