EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSJAMES BELKNAP CAPTURED
from Eyewitness News Online
Suspect Allegedly Argued With Victim Over Drug Debt Before Quadruple Murder
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Jeremy Bias
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: May. 28, 2012 11:26 PM EDT
Updated: May. 29, 2012 2:04 PM EDT
Summersville , Nicholas County , West Virginia
The Nicholas County man accused in a quadruple murder was found at a checkpoint set up to find him near Carl, West Virginia, Monday afternoon.
James Roy Belknap, 26, is accused of murdering two adults and two children from Greenbrier County.
Police say Steven Hendrix, his girlfriend, Amber Martin, and his two children, Dakota, 6, and Kaylee, 4, had not been seen since Saturday, May 19th.
Hendrix missed a court hearing on May 22 in Greenbrier County Circuit Court.
Disturbing details now coming to light in the criminal complaint filed Monday night in Nicholas County Magistrate Court.
Eyewitness News has now learned Belknap had been fighting with Hendrix over a drug debt. A fight that ultimately led to the death of those closest to him.
"Anything you want to say to the families of these victims?" asked Eyewitness News reporter Leslie Rubin as Belknap was being taken to court.
Belknap hung his head and stayed silent as he was escorted out of the Summersville detachment of the West Virginia State Police. He's now charged with four counts of first degree murder, after the extensive manhunt to find him came to an end Monday afternoon.
"We're going to look at every piece of evidence and we're going to try to gather every fact and we're going to try to make sense of it," explained 1st Sgt. Michael Baylous of the WVSP.
Through an extensive missing person investigation, troopers learned Hendrix had been fighting with Belknap over money that was owed to Hendrix from Belknap in reference to drugs.
On May 25th, troopers got information from Nicholas County 911 that Hendrix's abandoned car was found near Leivasy on an old rail road grade near White Buck Knob Road.
Troopers wrote in the complaint that it was apparent the individuals who were in the car were severely injured or deceased and it appeared they had suffered gunshot wounds.
It was quickly learned that Belknap lived at a home close to where the car was found.
A search warrant at the home turned up evidence that Hendrix's car had been there, along with his children, and Martin.
Troopers then found all four bodies, stripped naked, and dumped over the side of a mountain. The same property Belknap lived on.
The investigation showed that Belknap owned Hendrix money for drugs and they had been fighting about the payment. Police believe Hendrix went to the Belknap property to collect the money, and that's when the murders took place.
"One of the troopers I talked to said this has been one of the worst incidents he's ever responded to," said Baylous.
West Virginia State Police, along with the United States Marshal Service, the United States Forest Service, the Nicholas County Sheriff's Department, and the Nicholas County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management launched a massive manhunt around the property, believing he was still in the area. Road blocks were set up, and around 4:15 p.m. on Monday came the break in the case.
A GMC Sonoma truck being driven by Mark Haynes, 53, of Leivasy, was attempting to go through one of the checkpoints. Belknap was his passenger.
"Why did you want to help Mr. Belknap?" asked Rubin.
"I didn't want to," he nervously responded.
Troopers say Haynes ignored their commands to exit the truck and removed and placed on the gravel. He told them Belknap had come to his residence and asked for a ride to Grassy Creek Road, and he agreed.
Haynes is charged with accessory to murder after the fact, and obstructing.
Court records show Belknap was indicted on a murder charge in 2005, but it was later dropped in exchange for a 2007 plea deal for delivery of cocaine.
He served a year in jail.
His father, Kenneth Belknap, killed a man over drugs and then set his body on fire. He's always contended his son had nothing to do with it.
Kenneth Belknap is serving life in prison.
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