Who Were Randy Gwathney’s Victims? Where is Randy Gwathney Now? – ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows Of Death: Devil in Disguise,’ an episode on Investigation Discovery, tells the tale of survivor Lisa Reeves, who witnessed her husband murder nearly all of her family in Lee County, Arkansas, in February 2007. Her brother and the deputy sheriff who responded to her 911 call were both seriously hurt by Randy Gwathney, who also killed her parents and grandparents. But he was apprehended shortly after the shooting and given a life sentence. Do you want to learn more about the case? So let’s investigate it, shall we?
Recommended: Where is Randy Gwathney’s Survivor Lisa Reeves Now?
Who Were the Victims of Randy Gwathney?
On September 7, 1925, James Oliver Mitchell Jr. was born in Moro, Lee County, Arkansas. After his honorable military duty in World War II, he started working as a farmer. He then developed a passion for carpentry due to his love of the craft. He was an enthusiastic member of the Haynes Baptist Church and a devout Christian who spent his retirement years praying and studying the Bible.
Evelyn Elise Wilson Mitchell, who was born on August 11th, 1927, was a warm, talented cook who loved to garden. Her family and friends knew her for her love of country music and her famous handmade doughnuts and dumplings. On September 16, 1944, James and Evelyn were united in marriage. During their 62 years of blissful union, they had two boys and two daughters, one of which was Sylvia Elise Mitchell Reeves.
Sylvia was a member of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce and the Forrest City Area Chamber of Commerce. She was born on February 14, 1955, in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio. In addition to being a co-owner of Digital Memories of Arkansas, she founded Reeves Construction. In 1971, she got married to Rodger Wayne Reeves. Lisa Reeves and Travis Reeves, their two children, were born to the couple. Rodger sadly passed away in 2006 from natural causes.
Lisa married Randall “Randy” Gwathney, and the neighbors thought they were “just a normal couple.” However, the tragic catastrophe that occurred in February 2007, the night before Valentine’s Day on February 13, was the result of something gravely wrong. By 2007, Lisa and Randy were divorcing, and Lisa had moved out to her mother and grandparents’ house in Lee County, which is five miles south of Palestine.
According to court records, Randy had gone over to see his divorced wife when they got into a fight over a credit card and other money matters. As the debate heated up, Randy became aggressive and began striking Lisa. When Randy refused to go, Sylvia stepped in and threatened to call the police.
Randy began punching Sylvia despite the threat, and Lisa fled the scene to fetch her phone and call for assistance. However, after hearing a gunshot, she barricaded the door in her grandparents’ room and fled through the window to her brother Travis’ house next door.
Travis went to the scene to see what was going on after she finished her explanation, but Randy shot him many times. Lisa dialed 911 at around 1:45 am, and the St. Francis County sheriff’s office sent out officers to the scene. The first police officer on the scene, Deputy Tracy Jackson, was shot by Randy through the window of his patrol car and suffered life-threatening wounds. Before other officers flocked to the crime site, the attacker was able to flee.
When investigators arrived on the site, they were horrified by the level of savagery that had been exposed. Even Sylvia’s parents, James, 81, and Evelyn, 79, who were also shot execution-style, were not spared. Sylvia, 51, was the only victim. The elderly couple had been shot to death and passed away instantly. Travis was outside, where they discovered him with five bullet wounds, thankfully none of which were fatal. Travis and Tracy were both sent urgently for treatment at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Where is Randy Gwathney Now?
Randy Gwathney had left the crime site, but he did not elude capture for very long. Within a few hours of the shootings, law enforcement personnel were able to track him down and capture him, thanks to the surveillance of his ATM withdrawals and assistance from the general public. According to police accounts, he had seized his pickup vehicle and was traveling toward the Mexican border when he was apprehended in front of a McDonald’s in Laredo, Texas, at about 7:30 p.m. on February 14, 2007.
At the time of his arrest, Randy had two clips for a 40 caliber black handgun and an AK-47 assault weapon with four rounds in a canvas bag. However, he allowed himself to be handcuffed and frisked without any problems. A few days later, Randy was extradited to Arkansas where he was charged with three counts of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, and one crime of attempted first-degree murder.
After being found guilty of all charges, Randy was given a life sentence in November 2009 without parole plus 40 years. According to official court records, he is currently in his early 60s and is completing his sentence at the Varner Unit in Lincoln County, Arkansas. In 2009, Randy attempted to overturn the sentence based on a “mental condition or defect,” but his appeal was denied.