Kyla Croney

CRONEY

Kyla R. Croney, 34, Viola, Ark., has pleaded guilty to charges related to a double homicide and been sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to court records.

In August, Croney pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of delivery of a controlled substance but withdrew that plea Oct. 2. She was originally charged with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of armed criminal action and two counts of first-degree attempted robbery.

After pleading guilty to slightly modified charges on Wednesday, she is now convicted of two counts of second-degree murder committed during the perpetration of a felony in which a person dies, and one count of attempted possession of a controlled substance.

She was sentenced to 12 years each on the second-degree murder convictions and four years on the possession of a controlled substance conviction, handed down Wednesday by 37th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steven Privette. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Joey Allen Marcak, 31, West Plains, the alleged shooter in the incident, is set to appear for a preliminary hearing Nov. 12 before 37th Associate Circuit Court Judge David Ray.

The third co-defendant in the case, Levi Daniel Gunter, 37, AB Highway, pleaded not guilty Oct. 5 and waived a formal arraignment. Marcak and Gunter, who is a cousin of Croney's, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of armed criminal action and two counts of first-degree attempted robbery.

On the evening of May 5 the bodies of Richard L. Kuntz, 30, West Plains, and Frankie L. Ziegler, 28, Mtn. View, were found in their parked vehicle, dead of apparent gunshot wounds, on property off of County Road 4000.

Charges were filed after Croney allegedly told someone she had been at the murder scene and implicated Gunter and Marcak in subsequent police interviews.

Marcak is facing the death penalty in the case. He has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail since his arrest May 7. Gunter was also arrested that day and is being held without bail after his $500,000 bond was revoked on Sept. 30, when the case was bound over.

Croney and Gunter reportedly told detectives they met up with Marcak at a home on Lanton Road, and Marcak told Croney to call Ziegler and Kuntz to arrange a fake drug deal because the victims had stolen a car and money from him.

According to court documents, both told detectives they went with Marcak, who had a firearm. Gunter reportedly said he and Croney dropped Marcak off on the property where the bodies were found with what appeared to be a shotgun, and Marcak hid in the brush to wait for the victims to arrive.

Gunter allegedly said he and Croney then drove back up the road to meet Kuntz and Ziegler, and when they arrived, led them to where Marcak was hiding. Gunter reportedly told detectives that when the victims' vehicle stopped Marcak approached it and fired four or five rounds into it.

Gunter also reportedly told Detective Bryan Brauer that after the shootings, the three of them attempted to destroy evidence, including the SIM card in Croney’s phone, the clothing Marcak was wearing and the gun and spent shotgun shells allegedly used in the crime.

The West Plains Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the Howell County Sheriff's Department, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Fulton County Arkansas Sheriff's Department, the Salem Arkansas Police Department and the Arkansas State Police.

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