Two Charged in Triple Slaying in Owensboro Make Initial Court Appearance

Jan 23, 2019

Two men charged in the execution-style murders of three people in Owensboro made their first court appearance on Wednesday. 

Thirty year-old Arnett Baines and 31-year-old Cylar Shemwell were assigned public defenders and ordered to return to a Daviess County courtroom on February 1.  The pair is charged in the shooting deaths of three people last week at a home on Audubon Avenue.  A fourth person was left in critical condition. 

While Baines and Shemwell were arrested shortly after the murders, a large piece of the puzzle is still missing.

“We don’t have a definitive motive yet," said Public Information Officer Andrew Boggess with the Owensboro Police Department.

Detectives have established that most of the victims knew the accused shooters, but no further details on the nature of the relationships have been made public.

Killed in the shootings were 43-year-old Michael Sowders, the owner of the home, as well as 35-year-old Robert Smith, Jr., and 18-year-old Christopher Carie.  Thirty-five-year-old Carmen Vanegas was sent to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital in critical condition and later transferred to another hospital.  There’s been no update on her condition. 

Evidence taken from the home has been sent to the Kentucky State Police crime lab.  This is the largest murder investigation in Owensboro in at least the past two decades, and police say it could take some time to solve.