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Tucson murder suspects appear in local court

Three suspects arrested in Tonopah in connection with the murder of an elderly couple in Tucson, Ariz., last week appeared in Pahrump Justice Court Monday after Arizona authorities requested they be extradited back to their home state to face charges there.

Kyle Austin Drattlo, 20, Christopher Terry, 23, and Brianna Harding, 21, appeared on a demand for their extradition or surrender to the state of Arizona after each was charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, burglary in the first degree, armed robbery and aggravated robbery after Tucson police say they allegedly murdered Erskin Fulgham, 87, and his wife Mary Fulgham, 84, in their home on July 23.

Several news outlets in Tucson are reporting Drattlo is the grandson of the elderly couple who was murdered.

According to the Tucson Police Department, the agency first became involved in the case when it received an unknown trouble call to a residence in the 4600 block of East North Street in Tucson at approximately 4:13 p.m.

When police arrived several minutes later, the met with a family member outside the residence who explained they had discovered the Fulghams severely injured inside.

When officers made entry into the home, they reportedly found the couple deceased, noting both appeared to have suffered severe trauma. The Fulghams’ deaths were later ruled a homicide and Tucson detectives launched an investigation into their murders.

Shortly after police arrived at the Fulghams’ home they also realized the couple’s 2004 white Buick sedan with veteran’s license plates was missing as well.

According to information from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, around 4:25 a.m. the next morning, a deputy in Tonopah stopped a white Buick sedan at the intersection of U.S. Route 6 and Magnolia Avenue for speeding.

When the officer asked police dispatch to conduct a check on the vehicle’s registration, a dispatcher informed the officer the car came back stolen out of Tucson and that the suspects inside the vehicle were wanted for questioning in connection to a double homicide.

Drattlo, Terry and Harding were subsequently detained for questioning and transported to the Tonopah Detention Center. The following day a hold was placed on the trio after warrants had been issued for their arrest out of Arizona.

They were later transported down to the Nye County Detention Center in Pahrump before their court appearance Monday.

All three suspects were asked to signed waivers of extradition stating they voluntarily chose to return to the state of Arizona to face the charges filed against them.

While Drattlo and Harding quietly signed their paperwork, when it was time for Terry to go in front of Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson, he asked the judge what the procedure would be if only one of the defendants was actually guilty of the alleged murders.

“I do have a quick question your honor. If the person that actually did it admits to what they did, and the other two people are completely innocent, how does that go about, for the two people that were afraid for their lives?” Terry asked.

Jasperson explained they would need to discuss those concerns with the prosecuting attorney on the case, who would then likely weigh the claims against any evidence and decide how to handle the situation from there.

“Well, that would have to be taken into consideration and discussion with first of all the district attorney who’s responsible for prosecuting the case in Arizona, depending on what evidence they may or may not have that could prove their innocence, and then they would then most likely share that with the courts,” the judge said.

Once all three suspects had signed their extradition waivers, the three were remanded back into the custody of the sheriff’s office, which was instructed to inform Arizona it has 15 days to come and collect the defendants from the Pahrump jail.

At this time none of the defendants are facing charges in Nye County for possession of the stolen vehicle.