Zachary Capers is an Illinois man charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of an elderly couple in Evansville.
Capers, 23, was charged in the murders after he was arrested on an outstanding warrant in a separate incident, KMOV reported.
Capers was charged with murder 68-year-old Dr. Lois Ladd and her contractor husband, 79-year-old Michael Ladd.
Police say both were found stabbed inside their home Monday when officers were called to conduct a wellness check.
Police said there was “absolutely no connection” between Capers and the Ladds.
“This is a brutal, heinous crime,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. “I don’t have the death penalty available to me. If I did, we would pursue the death penalty.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Michael & Lois Ladd Were Found Stabbed in Their Home Monday
The Edwardsville Police Department was called to conduct a wellness check on the Ladds Monday morning.
Lois Ladd, a well-known local chiropractor, and her husband Michael, a general contractor, were found stabbed to death in their home around 10:30 am.
Police said they believe the Ladds were killed late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
“These were absolutely innocent, wonderful people,” Gibbons said. “This is a loss that will be personal to so many of us, most especially their family, and from which we’ll never fully recover.”
2. Zachary Capers Was Arrested in a Separate Incident
Capers, 23, is believed to have been living on the streets, The Belleville News-Democrat reported.
Capers was arrested on Sunday, before the Ladds’ bodies were found, on an outstanding warrant related to an incident in which he was charged with trespassing and obstructing a peace officer by allegedly fleeing to avoid arrest.
Former classmate Dakota Parish told The News-Democrat that Capers was a “quiet kid with a short temper.”
“There’s some people who are like, ‘I used to hang out with him. He would never do something like that,’” Parish said. “Then there are others who are like, ‘He’s on drugs. Who knows what that has done to his mind?’
3. Capers Was Charged With 4 Counts of Murder
Capers was charged with four counts of first-degree murder after police linked him to the Ladds’ murders.
Capers is being held at the Madison County Jail without bond.
Capers had several open criminal cases dating back to 2017.
“All of his other cases have been consolidated with the new murder charges,” the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s Office told the News-Democrat.
4. Investigators Say There Was No Connection Between Capers & The Ladds
Madison County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Jeff Connor said at a news conference that there was no evidence to suggest Capers and the Ladds knew each other.
“I’ve been asked a lot about the connection between the suspect and the victims, and I’m here to tell you, there is no connection,” he said Tuesday.
“At this point, we have no evidence suggesting they knew each other,” he added.
5. Capers Has a Long Criminal Record
Capers has an extensive criminal record dating back to 2017, The News-Democrat reported.
In September 2017, he was charged with possessing a stolen truck.
In October 2017, he was charged with possession of fake currency, theft, and obstruction of a peace officer.
In November 2017, he was charged with trespassing at a restaurant where he was banned before being charged with assaulting a man at a motel a week later.
In July 2018, he was charged with trespassing at the same location twice in one day.
In Scott County, Capers was also charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and residential burglary.
He was given 24 months of probation.
“When we reviewed the case, Mr. Capers at that time didn’t have any convictions,” Scott County State’s Attorney Michael Hill told the Madison-St. Clair Record. “He had several charges for different crimes, but the law in Illinois favors probation for a first-time offender, especially for non-violent offenses.”