Archived Story

Catahoula jury convicts two of murder

Published 12:00am Wednesday, May 5, 2004

After two days, a Catahoula Parish jury found two Avoyelles Parish men guilty Wednesday in the March 8, 2003, stabbing death of one man and attempted homicide of another.

&uot;They butchered him,&uot; Assistant District Attorney Brad Burget said of Joel McDonald and Dustin Runyon, found guilty of the murder of Daniel Wiley in Seventh Judicial District Court in Harrisonburg.

McDonald was found guilty of the second-degree murder of Wiley and attempted second-degree murder of Willis Dulworth. McDonald faces a mandatory life sentence with no benefit of parole for the murder and 10 to 50 years without parole for attempted second-degree murder.

Runyon was found guilty of manslaughter of Wiley and attempted second-degree murder of Dulworth. Runyon faces up to 40 years for manslaughter and 10 to 50 years for attempted second degree murder.

Assistant District Attorney Brad Burget said sentencing could happen in 30 to 60 days. Judge Leo Boothe ordered a pre-sentencing investigation so probation and parole officers could talk to the victims’ families and examine the men’s criminal history. The officers will recommend a sentence.

Wiley was stabbed to death near Larto Lake, according to Burget, and Dulworth was seriously injured when the two were fighting with McDonald, Runyon and two others.

McDonald told police in a statement he stabbed Wiley twice in the left arm, once in a finger, once in the neck and once in the chin, through to the chest. Wiley also was stabbed in the back and had an abrasion on the back of his head from being hit with a log, Burget said.

Willis died at the scene and Dulworth was taken to St. Francis Cabrini in Alexandria. His spleen was pierced and his lung collapsed from stab wounds in his back by Runyon and McDonald, according to Burget, but survived the attack.

Burget said McDonald and Runyon had no wounds and claimed the attack was self-defense.

Derrick Carson, the attorney for McDonald, said Wiley, more than six feet and 300 pounds, was much larger than 150-pound McDonald and was aggressive and belligerent the night of the fight. Burget said Wiley had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system and did consent to a fistfight but was not the aggressor. &uot;You don’t bring a knife to a fistfight,&uot; Burget said.

McDonald told police neither Wiley nor Dulworth had knives, Burget said. &uot;Runyon and McDonald were aggressors in the fight because they introduced dangerous weapons,&uot; Burget said.

McDonald and Runyon turned themselves in to the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office two days after the fight, Burget said.

They were indicted in April 2003 and arraigned the next month. The other three people with McDonald and Runyon &045;&045; Keith Warren, William Meredith and Jamie Bailey &045;&045; were arrested as well. The grand jury indicted Meredith and Warren with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. Bailey was charged with accessory after the fact to second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. There is no date set for their trials.