Three charged in connection with slaying of man found in shallow grave in Crestview

WALTON COUTY, Fla., Sept. 2, 2021—Two men are charged with homicide following the discovery of a body in a shallow grave in Crestview last month.

The third is charged with accessory to the homicide.

Related: Body recovered from shallow grave in Crestview

Arrested are:

Shawn Richard Bennett

48, from Crestview, charged with fleeing to elude, driving with a suspended license, possession of a weapon/ammo by a convicted felon and drugs in Okaloosa County; homicide in Walton County

Thomas Henry Pride

26, from Fort Walton Beach, charged with homicide in Walton County

Stephen Patrick Trexler

22, from Crestview, charged with accessory after the fact and destroying evidence in Okaloosa County

Walton County Sheriff’s Office began working with Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office on a missing person case Aug. 14.

The victim’s vehicle was located shortly after behind a residence off of Kelly Place in Mossy Head.

A search of the vehicle was conducted where investigators found large amounts of blood staining consistent with an injury that could not be survivable.

During the investigation that followed, Shawn Bennett and Thomas Pride were identified as persons of interest in the homicide.

Evidence and witness statements corroborated both men planned to meet the victim at Kelly Place with the intent to kill and rob him.

Investigators located the victim’s body in a shallow grave off of Chapperal Street in Crestview Aug. 24.

After an autopsy, it was determined the victim died from a single gunshot wound.

Pride was located and arrested Aug. 27 by the OCSO. He was extradited to Walton County Jail the following day and charged with an open count of murder.

Bennett was arrested by the OCSO on unrelated charges Aug. 20 and is pending extradition to Walton County. Bennett was served Sept. 1 at the Okaloosa County Jail.

Stephen Trexler was arrested Thursday as an accessory for his involvement in the days following the killing.

Assisting WCSO in the investigation along with OCSO, were Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office news release

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