Second person charged in Mt. Vernon shooting death
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Nov. 4, 2006 - A second man has been arrested on capital murder charges in connection with the shooting death of Mount Vernon bed and breakfast owner Robert Whiteside earlier this week.

Both Mark Aaron Rains of Mount Vernon and Juan Chavez of Dallas remained in the Franklin County jail Saturday morning on capital murder charges.

�Chavez turned himself in Friday after being contacted by authorities. Rains was arrested Thursday in Dallas after he and a third man, Narada Newman of Dallas, were found in Whiteside's stolen pickup. Authorities also found numerous personal items belonging to Whiteside in the truck.

Another person is being sought for questioning.

Search warrants executed at the suspects' apartments turned up evidence supporting the theory that  Whiteside's death was the result of a botched burglary and robbery, according to District Attorney Martin Braddy.  Whiteside's body was found Wednesday night at his home southeast of Mount Vernon by a close friend. The robbery-burglary-murder was thought to have occurred on Monday night.

"Multiple" people are suspected to have been involved in planning and carrying out the apparent burglary and robbery which resulted in Whiteside's death from gunshot wounds.

"We're still investigating who pulled the trigger or if several people participated," Braddy said Saturday morning.

Whiteside, owner and operator of Veranda Bed and Breakfast, was known for his artistry and craftsmanship as a jeweler, having created pieces commissioned by presidents of three countries, as well as prime ministers, princes, queens and wives of chancellors. Whiteside's pieces ranged from pricey display eggs to rings, bands, necklaces and other pieces valued between $100 and $50,000 per item.

Braddy said investigators don't believe any of the jewelry Whiteside made was stolen, but that some of the victim's personal jewelry was found during the search of the suspects' apartments.

"Mr. Chavez worked there at one time, and from the information we have received, we believe he had knowledge of the robbery," Braddy said.

Braddy said authorities believe the other person wanted for questioning obtained the weapon used in the incident.

Newman, who is being held on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, is not believed to have been involved in the shooting death.

"But we're not going to rule out the possibility, depending on the investigation, which is moving swiftly and ongoing," Braddy said.


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