Authorities Begin Process of Bringing Triple Murder Suspect Back to Arkansas

FEBRUARY 14, 2007 - Posted at 4:10 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas authorities are starting the process needed to bring back to the state a man accused of killing his mother-in-law and her parents in Lee County.

Gordon Randal Gwathney of Marianna, 46, was arrested last night in Laredo, Texas.  State Police spokesman Bill Sadler says Gwathney was in front of a McDonald's restaurant when Laredo police captured him.

Gwathney was armed, but did not resist.

Formal charges are pending in Lee County.

The Arkansas State Police are working with the Laredo police and Webb County, Texas, authorities to transport Gwathney to Arkansas to face charges.

Police began searching for Gwathney after the shootings early yesterday just south of Palestine, near the Lee and St. Francis county lines.  Officers said Gwathney shot his estranged wife's mother and grandparents at their rural Arkansas home, then wounded his brother-in-law and a sheriff's deputy.

St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May says Gwathney and his wife Lisa are going through a divorce and that Lisa Gwathney had moved into the home where her mother and grandparents lived.

The sheriff said 35-year-old Lisa Gwathney heard the shootings and was able to get out of the house through a window and run for help.  Her mother, 51-year-old Sylvia Reeves was killed, along with her grandparents, 81-year-old J.O. Mitchell and 79-year-old Evelyn Mitchell.

Outside, Lisa Gwathney's brother, Travis Reeves, who lives nearby, got into a gunfight with Gwathney and was wounded.  Deputy Tracy Jackson was injured as Gwathney fired at his truck, shooting out Jackson's windows.

Jackson was treated and released at a Forrest City hospital.  Reeves was admitted to a Memphis hospital.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)