Charges Filed in Double Murder in Bootheel

January 19, 2004 -- Posted at 5:38 p.m. CST

PEMISCOT COUNTY--Residents of Pemiscot County near Cooter are still in shock over a shooting that left two men dead.

Sunday afternoon, two brothers were gunned down a trailer on county highway 563 in Missouri, just 50 yards from the Arkansas state line.  The victims were identified as Jeffery and Gregory Chamness and were brothers who lived together.

Monday, police charged Ronald Harvey Howell, Jr., 27, with two counts of murder in the first degree. Police say Howell's father Ronald Howell, Sr. was also present at the crime, but has not been charged.

Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell said the men were friends of the brothers. 

"The information that we have is that they were visiting and one of them obtained a weapon and began shooting," said Sheriff Greenwell.

Police officials say Howell, Sr. will most likely serve as a witness.

Neighbors say the Chamness brothers kept to themselves, but violence like this does make folks worry.

Bobby Dean Shelton lives just down the road from the trailer where the men were shot and admits, it makes him nervous.

"This makes everthing get jittery, you don't know what to expect," said Shelton.

"It's a small community, you just hate for anything like this to happen, you know you don't ever dream about it it is," said Carl Clifton, whose home is across the road from the Chamness' tailer.

While neighbors aren't scared, they say events like this don't usually happen around here.

"It just makes you realize that things like this can happen, and it does.  You see it everyday on just don't think about it happening out here in the's a little farming community and good people live out here," said Clifton.

No motive for the shootings has been established, but police officials did say when they arrived at the crime scene, they found illegal drugs.