Suspects on Run in Vicious Beating: Sheriff

Victim was reportedly burned, castrated, and set on fire

By Scott Gordon
|  Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013  |  Updated 11:50 PM CDT
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Lanny Walton, 27, faces aggravated assault charges in the beating of Ricky Stephens on Feb. 17. The victim was reportedly burned, castrated and set on fire.

Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

Lanny Walton, 27, faces aggravated assault charges in the beating of Ricky Stephens on Feb. 17. The victim was reportedly burned, castrated and set on fire.

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A Stephenville man is charged with the brutal beating of a man three weeks ago, and several other suspects are on the run, the Erath County Sheriff said Wednesday.

Lanny Walton, 27, faces aggravated assault charges in the beating of Ricky Stephens on Feb. 17.

"He didn't deserve what they did to him," said Stephens' sister, Ronieva Davis. "This was brutal."

Sheriff Tommy Bryant said investigators have not been able to locate Walton or several others.

"There are two or three others we're looking at trying to track down," Bryant said.

Davis said she didn't know Walton and had no idea how me may have come into contact with her brother.

"I'm hoping he has a conscience somewhere and that he will turn himself in," she said.

The Stephenville Empire-Tribune reported that Stephens was found tied to a tree after he was castrated and set on fire.

Bryant said he could not confirm details of the beating.

"I don't know how much of it's true at this point," he said.

Investigators have been unable to speak to the victim because he remains in a medically induced coma. They have subpoenaed his medical records, Bryant said.

Stephens, 43, is being treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

A police report said Stephens was found in a pasture with "severe head injuries, abrasions and lacerations."

"It wasn't until later I started to find out details they never told me," Davis said, adding she still isn't sure about the exact extent of his injuries but knows he was severely beaten and burned.

Walton has a lengthy criminal history including arrests on evading arrest, driving while intoxicated, assault, drug possession and failure to identify a fugitive.

His driver's license gives an address in Huntington, which is near Lufkin. But it is believed he had lived more recently in Stephenville.

Davis said she has heard widespread rumors that her brother committed a horrible crime and that his attacker was seeking revenge.

"If somebody breaks the law and you know they've broken a law, go to the sheriff's office or the police," she said. "Don't take matters into your own hands."

She said she doesn't believe the rumors and just wants her brother's attackers captured.

"If it was my place, I'd say, 'Eye for an eye, do to him what he did to my brother,'" she said. "But that's not the way to do it. That's not what God would want."

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