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Couple Accused Of Killing Woman's Ex Allegedly Wrote Out Murder Plans

Investigators say James Guillory beat and strangled Jeff Skrivanek in a prolonged attack that ended with the victim hanging from a tree in Oklahoma City. The victim's ex, Sierra McCoy Griffen, who is also charged with first-degree murder. 

By Jax Miller
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A couple in Oklahoma is under arrest after a man was violently beaten, strangled, and dragged to a tree to hang.

James Guillory, 20, and Sierra McCoy Griffen, 18, are charged with the prolonged murder of Jeff Skrivanek, 51, whose body was found at a homeless encampment in Oklahoma City on Saturday, according to CBS Tulsa affiliate KOTV-DT. Per court filings obtained by the outlet, Guillory and Griffen – who are reportedly in a romantic relationship – plotted to kill Skrivanek, believed to be Griffen’s ex-boyfriend.

Officers with the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) were called to the homeless camp near N. Western Avenue and the John Kilpatrick Service Road at around 8:15 a.m., according to a statement by police to Oxygen.com.

The area has been a popular spot for several homeless camps in the past decade, due in part to “large tracts of open, unimproved land,” according to The Oklahoman.

When officers arrived at the encampment, Skrivanek was already dead, having sustained injuries consistent with homicide,” police stated.

OKCPD Sgt. Dillon Quirk told Fox Oklahoma City affiliate KOKH that the murder may have “stemmed from a disagreement" between Griffen and Skrivanek about a dog. He also told KOTV-DT that the dog was owned jointly by the two parties.

James Guillory’s father, on the other hand, said his son killed Skrivanek in self-defense after the victim allegedly tried to rape Griffen, per KOKH.

Police handouts of James Guillory and Sierra McCoy-Griffen

A reporting witness stated he saw Guillory strangle Skrivanek with a dog leash in a wooded area of the encampment while Griffen stood by and watched, according to authorities. Police say there were “apparent” signs of blunt force trauma, though authorities did not reveal what Guillory used to allegedly beat the victim.

Guillory allegedly detailed the murder to another person while at a local restaurant, according to KOTV-DT.

According to the recent court filings obtained by the CBS outlet, Guillory and Griffen had allegedly planned to kill Skrivanek for some time. When authorities found the couple in a hotel on the same day of the murder, investigators allegedly found handwritten letters by the couple, providing details of their sinister plans.

Following his arrest, Guillory allegedly confessed to killing Skrivanek, explaining he strangled Skrivanek on three separate occasions in an attempt to kill him.

Guillory described failing at his first attempt to strangle Skrivanek and tried once more after realizing “Skrivanek was still breathing,” authorities said, according to KOTV-DT.

When trying a third time, Guillory allegedly tied a leash around the victim’s neck and dragged him to a tree, tying Skrivanek to a branch, Guillory allegedly told investigators.

“He tied the leash in a manner which held the victim’s neck off the ground to ensure Skrivanek’s death,” according to the court filing.

Quirk, the police spokesperson, quickly dispelled suspicions that Skrivanek’s murder was related to another homicide of a homeless person less than two weeks earlier, according to KOKH.

“Well, it’s definitely strange to see two that are so close together, but there’s no correlation or connection or anything connected between them,” Quick stated.

Guillory and Griffen were booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center on charges of first-degree murder. According to KOTV-DT, both were denied bond.

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