Two years after the murder of a Shawnee homeless man, an anonymous tip and further investigation have helped detectives identify three suspects who are now formally charged in the case. As of late Friday, two of those suspects were in police custody.
District Attorney Richard Smothermon has filed first-degree murder charges in the 2011 homicide of Alan Wade Branscum, 54.
Branscum, an Arkansas native who was living homeless in Shawnee, was found dead under the Beard Street Bridge in the 800 block of South Beard on the morning of Aug. 6, 2011.
The case filed in Pottawatomie County District Court shows Leland Dale Blanchard Jr., 19, of Shawnee, Keenan Allen Thorpe, 23, of McLoud, and Anthony Neal Wood, 21, Shawnee, are charged in the homicide.
According to police, Blanchard and Thorpe have been arrested and are being held without bond in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center.
Shawnee Police Detective Ethan Rieves said Friday that police still want to speak with Wood regarding this case; court records show he has an outstanding warrant.
The defendants are accused of unlawfully, and with malice aforethought, striking Branscum multiple times in the head, face and body, the charge shows. The state medical examiner ruled Branscum died of blunt force trauma.
The case was unsolved until recently. On the two-year anniversary of Branscum's death earlier this month, police were pursuing a new lead based on a tip, which developed into police piecing together information after talking with several people.
According to the warrant, a witness reported he allegedly saw three suspects beating on a man. The suspects were allegedly at the river to drink alcohol when they first encountered Branscum sleeping under the bridge, the affidavit shows.
A witness later heard loud screaming and cursing as some type of altercation was occurring.
Watch for further updates.