First-degree murder charges have been filed against three men in connection with the beating death of a 40-year old man in Booneville on Tuesday afternoon, July 22.

William L. Strickland, 32, of Branch, James R. Lane, 33 and John H. Massey, Jr., 40, all of Booneville, are accused of carrying out an attack on Gregory V. Kennedy, who was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital in Booneville at 3:04 p.m. Tuesday, July 22.

According to Arkansas State Police arrest warrant affidavits for each of the men, a witness told investigators that Lane and a man later identified as Strickland dragged Kennedy from his vehicle outside a residence in the 500 block of Fourth Street and began to strike him with their hands.

Kennedy apparently broke free at one point but was chased by Lane and Strickland, knocked back to the ground and the beating continued, according to the witness, for another five to eight minutes.

When Massey was interviewed, according to the affidavits, Massey told investigators he told Strickland and Lane where Kennedy could be found and subsequently drove the Strickland and Lane to the Fourth Street residence because, Massey told investigators, Kennedy had helped beat up Strickland’s pregnant girlfriend.

Massey said Kennedy "got what he deserved," the affidavit states.

Following the attack, a second witness reported the men’s location to police. Strickland and Lane were taken into custody at a Capri Motel room shortly after the attack. Both men invoked a right to legal counsel after their arrests, which took place shortly after the attack on Tuesday, the affidavit states. However both consented to a DNA swab of their hands, the affidavit states.

Strickland and Lane also exhibited scratches, the affidavit states and clothing Strickland and Lane were wearing appeared to have blood on them and were taken into evidence.

Lane was listed on a Logan County Detention Center inmate log last Friday. Strickland was listed on a Crawford County Jail log the same day. Massey was listed as a prisoner on a log at the Booneville City Jail.