June 5, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster’s office today announced that one of the defendants charged in the deaths of four people in Ripley County in 2010 has pleaded guilty to four counts of murder in the first degree has received four consecutive terms of life in prison without parole.
David Youngblood pleaded guilty Monday in the deaths of Edgar Atkinson and Bonnie Chase, and Loyd and Irene Piatt, all of Ripley County.
Two other individuals are also charged in the four murders -- Youngblood’s daughter, Chantele, and Keith Boyles. Youngblood’s wife, Melissa Youngblood, is also charged with the murders of Edgar Atkinson and Bonnie Chase. Their cases are pending.
Loyd and Irene Piatt were David Youngblood’s aunt and uncle.
The pending charges maintain that each of the victims was shot to death and then their homes were set ablaze, allegedly to cover up the crimes.
The Attorney General’s Office was Special Prosecutor in the case.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and, as in all criminal cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until or unless proved guilty in a court of law.