PDT Staff Writer
The murder trial of a Wheelersburg man is set to begin Monday morning. Raymond J. Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg is the first of three people to be tried in the aggravated murder of Felipe Lopez, 24, of Friendship, whose badly burned body was found in a burned-out truck in March of this year.
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said Assistant Prosecutor’s Pat Apel and Julie Hutchinson are preparing the case which includes, in addition to the aggravated murder charge, aggravated arson, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence — all felonies. Linkous is represented by Scott Hicks.
In March, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said his office received a 911 call that a truck was on fire in the 4400 block of Junior Furnace Powellsville Road in Franklin Furnace. Deputies and the Green Township Fire Department responded to the location. Donini said the body was discovered after the fire was put out. Detectives and the State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene to investigate.
Donini said the body was sent to the Montgomery County Morgue for an autopsy, and through forensic technology the remains were identified as Felipe Lopez, age 24, of Friendship. Detectives said they found the vehicle used by the suspects, which led to several suspects being identified and questioned. Deputies recovered two weapons they suspect were used in murder and the victim’s cell phone.
Kuhn said the trial will begin with the jury selection process at 9 a.m.
In addition to Linkous, Thomas Henry Steinhauer, 47 of Portsmouth and David K Gerald, 37 of Wheelersburg have trials scheduled for October and November on the same charges.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org