Posted 9 months ago
By John P Tretbar
Tony King of Bethany was bound over for trial Tuesday on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of his cellmate at the Buchanan County Jail. Arraignment is scheduled August 26 at 8:30am.
The 29-year-old Bethany man has already been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for killing his seven-year-old son and setting fire to their home in 2012.
King was awaiting sentencing in that case when he allegedly strangled his cellmate Michael Anthony Bozarth. Bozarth, 25, already a registered sex offender, was awaiting trial on new sodomy charges at the time of his death.
During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Corporal Velda King-Mays testified about the pair’s incarceration and how Bozarth’s death was discovered.
King-Mays is with the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Department, and was on duty that night. She said that King and Bozarth were the only two people inside their cell when Bozarth was found dead.
King-Mays testified that she was notified of an emergency in the jail shortly after two a.m. on June 11. When she got to the cell, she testified that she found the victim unresponsive on his bunk.
King-Mays said she called out to the victim, then shook him, and finally pulled the blankets off of him. She said Bozarth’s hands appeared pale, and his face was purple.
“I believed him to be gone,” she said. Later, paramedics confirmed he had died.
Commander Mark Brock of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division testified that he questioned Mr King a few hours later. He testified that he took a statement from King, which King signed.
Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Scroggins asked Judge Ronald Taylor to read the statement. A few minutes later Judge Taylor ruled there was probable cause to believe King had committed second degree murder and bound him over for trial.
In an interview, Scroggins said he wanted to keep Mr King’s statement to law enforcement private, to protect his rights.
“We didn’t want to infringe on the defendant’s right to an unbiased jury in this jurisdiction,” Scroggins said.