Couple Suspected To Have Ties To Bodies Found In Freezer

Mississippi authorities have issued arrest warrants for a Kansas couple now charged with murder in the deaths of Hattiesburg residents Vernon Hulett and Linda Heintzelman.

``Arrest warrants have been issued for murder; and we are awaiting extradition,'' Hattiesburg Police Maj. Hardy Sims in a prepared statement issued late Friday. Sims said Roger Gillett, 29, and Lisa Jo Chamberlin, 31, both of Russell County, Kan., were served murder warrants on Friday in a Kansas jail after the bodies of Hulett and Heintzelman were positively identified through results of an autopsy.

Gillett and Chamberlin are already facing felony drug charges in Kansas.

Hulett's mother, Caroline Hester of Hattiesburg, told The Hattiesburg American that Gillett and Hulett are cousins who grew up together in Kansas.

``I think it's great. This is what I want,'' Hester said Friday in reaction to the murder charges. ``It was cold-blooded, heartless murder.''

The bodies of Hulett, 34, and his girlfriend, Heintzelman, 37, were found Tuesday at a vacant farmstead eight miles southwest of Luray, Kan., when authorities were executing a drug-related search warrant.

Gillett and Chamberlin were being held on $500,000 bond each on the felony drug charges. A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday for Gillett and Thursday for Chamberlin. Hattiesburg police say their preliminary investigation shows the murders occurred at the home of Hulett and Heitzelman and the bodies were taken to Kansas.

``There are some investigative issues we need to deal with. Until those are solved, there is no reason for us to go to Kansas,'' Hattiesburg Police Chief David Wynn said Friday.

Gillett and Chamberlin had been staying with Hulett and Heintzelman at their Hattiesburg home during a monthlong visit, Hester said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)