Clayton Maricle was on a weekend furlough from a group home when he began arguing with Nicholas Carmen as they and three others walked along abandoned railroad tracks near Slidell on Saturday. The quarrel ended with Carmen, 20, lying dead at the base of an embankment with at least 15 stab wounds.
St. Tammany Parish Coroner Charles Preston said Monday that several of the wounds were lethal, including one that severed Carmen’s jugular vein and carotid artery.
Maricle, 17, was on an earned furlough from a group home in Branch, in Acadia Parish, where he was serving time for vehicle burglary.
The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office arrested Maricle at his family’s camp in Nicholson, Mississippi, on Sunday after getting a call from his aunt, who had driven the teenager there. She told authorities she believed her nephew had stabbed someone but that she had no idea where the body might be, Sheriff Jack Strain said.
Maricle was booked into Pearl River County jail as a fugitive from St. Tammany Parish, where he will be extradited and booked with second-degree murder, the Sheriff’s Office said. Strain said the charge might be increased to first-degree murder if investigators find evidence of robbery or another crime.
Another member of the group, 41-year-old Marty Anderson, of Slidell, was booked with one count of obstruction of justice after detectives interviewed him and determined that he helped Maricle dispose of evidence.
Anderson had called Maricle’s aunt to ask her to pick him up and drive him to Mississippi, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Strain said the woman could tell something was wrong with her nephew because of his conduct, “and quite frankly, he probably still had some blood on him,’’ the sheriff said. During the drive, she talked to him, and he admitted he had killed someone.
“I can’t commend her enough for having the fortitude to pick up the phone and call the Sheriff’s Office,’’ Strain said.
The Sheriff’s Office launched an intense search for a body that soon focused on an area along railroad tracks between Donya and Carnation streets near Slidell. Officials said the area is often used as a shortcut by people in the neighborhood.
Detective Matt Vasquez described the area as remote and wooded, and deputies used four-wheelers and foot patrols to search for the body before finally finding the victim about 42 feet from the tracks and 10 feet down an embankment. Deputies also recovered the knife allegedly used to kill Carmen.
All of the group home residents have cooperated with the investigation.
Strain said the men were looking for someone to sell them marijuana or mojo when the fight occurred. What began as an argument quickly escalated, and Strain said the coroner’s report shows an initial nonfatal stab wound was followed by a flurry of more serious wounds. “Obviously, there were anger issues for the attack to occur so quickly,’’ he said.
The homicide is the fourth in unincorporated St. Tammany Parish this year, Strain said. There were no homicides in unincorporated St. Tammany in 2013.
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