Authorities have charged a married couple with murder in the death of Joanie Deanne Parker, 49. Her body was found at a vacant property outside of Idalou late last month. Days later, the landowner discovered the body of Parker's son, Derek Hale, in the same area.
Meredith and Casey Ledbetter, who are charged in Parker's death, have not been charged with Hale's murder. Sheriff Kelly Rowe says the investigation is still underway and that investigators are waiting on forensic evidence before presenting a case for murder charges to the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office.
The affidavit attached to the murder warrant reveal new details about what happened to the mother and son. Investigators say Casey Ledbetter claims, through a confession, that he and his wife never meant to kill Derek Hale. Things escalated, according to Ledbetter, and Hale was shot at, stunned, beaten with a bat and stabbed inside his home.
Meredith Ledbetter, according to the affidavit, admits to being involved in the death of Parker and knowing about how Hale was killed. Authorities say at no point did she try to stop what happened.
Hale's body was not discovered inside their home. Investigators say the Ledbetters lured Parker to the same property under the pretense of using $4,000 from her to help Hale out of a bad situation.
The affidavit reveals the Ledbetters traveled with Parker to the property, stole the money and drove her car away from the scene. Authorities say they have phone records and surveillance video that place the Ledbetters with Parker an hour before she was shot to death.
"There are key differences between what happened in both homicides," said Rowe. That's why he said murder charges against the married couple for killing Hale have not been filed. "Given the nature we certainly have enough evidence and enough information to support that these two individuals are still the primary suspects in Hale's murder."
Casey Ledbetter claims no one else was involved in the crimes before, during, or after the acts took place. Rowe has said in the prior interviews that the Ledbetters may have ties to the Aryan Brotherhood Gang.
Deputies served the husband and wife inside the Lubbock County Detention Center Wednesday. In the affidavit, investigators say the couple knows details about the crimes only someone close to the act would know.
"There is a tremendous amount of evidence to coordinate so that we make sure we present the district attorney with the best case for a successful prosecution," said Rowe.
It's not clear when murder charges could be filed against the couple for Hale's death. Rowe said his investigators are working on collecting the evidence results.
Both Ledbetters have a $600,000 bond.
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