A Greenbrier man was formally charged Monday afternoon with first-degree murder in connection to the Sept. 3 strangulation death of Rachel King.
Morgan Richard Weatherford, 27, of Greenbrier was formally charged at 3:50 p.m. Monday in Logan County Circuit Court with first-degree murder, residential burglary and theft of property in connection to King’s death.
King was reportedly murdered at her home in Booneville on the morning in question. The Booneville Police Department was alerted around 8 a.m. Sept. 3 regarding a domestic disturbance and soon found King was dead.
As the death investigation launched by Booneville police picked up, Weatherford was arrested by the Conway Police Department on Sept. 4 and subsequently transferred to Logan County for further questioning.
Online records show he was booked into the Faulkner County Detention Center at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 4 and released to a Logan County Sheriff’s Office deputy at 8:07 p.m. the same day.
Court documents indicate the Greenbrier man broke into King’s home on West South Street in Booneville by climbing through one of her children’s bedroom windows.
Weatherford admitted to “crawling” into the young boy’s bedroom before strangling the 22-year-old woman “with his hands,” according to an affidavit.
As he strangled the Booneville woman, “her head hit the ground several times,” Weatherford told police.
According to the affidavit, the child whose bedroom Weatherford used to break into the home witnessed “a struggle” between his mother and the Greenbrier man. The boy saw his mother’s lifeless body “with blood on her face” as well as other parts of her body following the incident, the report states.
The theft of property charge was filed against Weatherford because he took the woman’s 2003 Ford Expedition after killing her, according to recent court filings.
“Morgan used the vehicle to flee the area where he committed murder in the first degree and then abandoned the vehicle at the KFC/Taco Bell in Booneville,” the affidavit reads in part.
The keys to the vehicle were found in a grassy area near the abandoned vehicle, the affidavit states.
King’s body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy to determine an exact cause of death, officials said. The Booneville woman’s three children — ages 2, 3 and 4 — reportedly were at the home when she was killed.
Weatherford is currently being held behind bars in the Logan County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. A plea and arraignment hearing regarding the aforementioned case will be held Oct. 4 in Logan County Circuit Court.
First-degree murder is a Class Y felony. If convicted, Weatherford faces 10-40 years or life in prison.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.