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December 8, 2011

McAlester native slain in Kansas; grandson charged in murder

McALESTER — A former McAlester resident has been murdered in Kansas, and her grandson and his girl friend have been arrested in connection with her death.

Loyce Ann (Basolo) Cody, 69, died Monday at her home in Augusta, Kan, police said. Cody was a teacher at Cessna Elementary School in Wichita, Kan.

Law enforcement officers later arrested her grandson, Jacob Allen Hoyt, 18, and his girlfriend, Lyndsey Giovinazzo, 19, in Cody’s stolen car following a high-speed chase, police said.

Hoyt and Giovinazzo are charged with premeditated first-degree murder, said Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney.

Devinney confirmed that Cody had been strangled.

Both Hoyt and Giovinazzo remained jailed in Butler County in El Dorado, Kan., where their bond has been set at $1 million.

They are also charged with felony theft for allegedly taking a car, a debit card and candy that belonged to Cody, Devinney said.

The two defendants face a third charge of arson for allegedly burning or trying to burn a car from Independence, Kan., he said.

Asked about a motive, Devinney said the matter is still under investigation. He also said it’s not necessary to have a motive to prove the elements of the case.

Hoyt and Giovinazzo are believed to have arrived at Cody’s house on Sunday. They were believed to have previously been staying in the Bartlesville area, according to police.

“They got there late Sunday night,” Devinney said. The murder is believed to have occurred early Monday.

Both defendants were in court on Wednesday, where the judge set their bond at $1 million each. They both filled out forms requesting court-appointed attorneys and the court has appointed counsel to represent them, Devinney said.

Devinney praised the Augusta Department of Public Safety and the Butler County Sheriff’s Department for their part in capturing the two.

Tyler Brewer, who is the director of the Augusta Department of Public Safety, said police found Cody’s body at her Augusta residence around 10 a.m. on Monday. Her Toyota Corolla was missing, he said.

Meanwhile, police were also looking into another stolen vehicle case which they thought might be related to the case.

“We were working a case in the county where a stolen vehicle had been burned,” Brewer said.

While law enforcement officers were at the site, an officer spotted a car driving by the scene.

“They were at the (crime scene) and they saw the defendants drive by in Mrs. Cody’s stolen vehicle,” Devinney said.

Police then attempted to stop the driver.

“A high speed chase ensued,” Brewer said, with police pursuing the Toyota for approximately 20 miles.

The chase stopped when law enforcement officers ahead of the cars placed “stop sticks” on the highway that blew out the tires on the Toyota, according to police.

Police arrested Hoyt and  Giovinazzo without resistance, Brewer said.

See more in the print edition of the News-Capital

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