Man Accused of Killing Grandmother Pleads Not Guilty

BENTONVILLE -- A Bentonville man suspected of stabbing his grandmother to death has pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, Michael Conklin, 26, appeared for in Benton County court on capital murder and felony theft charges.  His next court date is scheduled for October 6. He's been in the Benton County Jail without bond since he was captured after a four day man hunt.

On July 20, the Bentonville Police Department began an investigation into the suspicious death of 76-year-old Nelma Darline Conklin.

Police received a call of about a welfare concern at 3300 SW Elm Manor Drive. The caller said 76-year-old Nelma Darline Conklin had not shown up for work at the Walmart Supercenter on Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers for about one week. According to the probable cause report, when officers went to check on her, they found the front door barricaded by a small step ladder lodged under the door handle. The officers did not discover the body on the first search of the home.

During a second search, the report says an officer found Conklin's body in the garage, concealed by trash bags and cardboard. Police also say they found blood spatter on the garage wall and door, and a pair of jeans, a sweat shirt and latex gloves with blood stains. The probable cause report says plastic sheeting had been unrolled leading from the garage into the kitchen. Based on the timeline and autopsy, investigators believe Conklin had been deceased for approximately one week. An autopsy determined the manner of death to be homicide, and the cause of death to be stab wounds to the neck.

Conklin’s grandson, Michael, had been living at the house with her. He had moved in with her several months before, and her family members and co-workers told police tensions had been escalating.

When investigators arrested Michael Friday, they say he also had Darline Conklin’s missing car, a silver 2013 Ford Focus.

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