Seven people were arrested today by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in connection with a drug deal gone bad which resulted in the death of an innocent bystander May 20th.
The seven individuals charged with third degree murder range in age from 17 to 27.
The suspects are: 19-year old Craig Rudolph Jr., 17-year old Keanu Askew, 21-year old Brendon Scarver, 18-year old Gaige Monfils, 17-year old Sterlin Burns, 27-year old Daniel Heath, and 18-year old Shatavia Elicia Foreman, all of Fort Walton Beach.
Investigators say the tragic and complicated sequence of events began with an earlier drug deal involving Gaige Monfils at his home at 110 Oakhill Avenue. Monfils was robbed at gunpoint by two 16 year olds. The OCSO arrested Niriah Rudolph and Celeste Templin Wednesday on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping. (See previous release 5/22/2019)
Monfils contacted Burns and Heath and told them about the robbery. At Monfils request, Heath went to his residence with Monfils and Askew to get weapons. After retrieving two handguns, a rifle, a mask, and gloves, the trio went back to 110 Oakhill Avenue.
Hours later, Burns arranged to sell a half pound of marijuana to Rudolph for $550.
Foreman drove Rudolph and Scarver to Monfils house for the pre-arranged drug deal. Shortly after they arrived a gunshot was fired from the house towards their vehicle. Foreman says one of the individuals in the car shot back. In the exchange of gunfire between those at the home, (Monfils, Heath, Burns, and Askew) and those in the car, (Scarver, Rudolph, and Foreman), one of the bullets hit and killed 19 year old bystander Cordell Smart, who was there to drop off his dog.
Investigators say it is not clear which individual fired the shot that killed Smart.
Under Florida law, because all involved were taking part in the commission of a felony crime (narcotics transaction) that led to an unlawful death, all participants are charged the same.