VERONA, Ky. - The three Northern Kentucky men accused of killing and dismembering a Walton man remain held without bond after an appearance in Boone County District Court Thursday morning.
Boone County detectives described the gruesome murder and dismemberment while family and friends of the three suspects listened.
Boone County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday confirmed the victim in the case was Daniel Delfin, 19, of Walton. The identification was made from his clothing, a tattoo and because that's the name the accused men gave investigators.
Jefferey Allen and Stephen Harkness, of Verona, plus Anthony Baumgartner, of Florence, told police they took the law into their own hands because Delfin was a suspected heroin dealer and they wanted to rid the world of evil. They've been charged with kidnapping, murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Delfin's torso and some leg parts were found in a barn near Allen's home on Messmer Lane in Verona. A search for other body parts at Rumpke's Pendleton County Landfill in Tuesday turned up nothing. The trio said they put Delfin's arms and legs in dumpsters at Dream Street hotels in Florence.
All three men charged in the case have military records.
9 On Your Side confirmed that Allen was a Marine from March 2011 to October 2012, leaving that branch of the service with the rank of private. The sheriff's office said he was dishonorably discharged, but Marine Corps officials cited privacy considerations for not confirming or denying that information. However, they did say Allen received a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a National Defense Service Medal during domestic service.
Allen does have a prior arrest in 2010 for disorderly conduct.
Jim Littrell lives across Messmer Lane from the Allen house and the nearby barn. He said the arrests were a surprise, but noted that more and more crime is progressing from the city to the country.
Littrell recalled meeting Allen several times.
"He seemed like a pretty good boy and he never caused no trouble that I know of around here," he said. "He would always wave, come up a couple of times and talk a little bit."
Public records show Baumgartner was or still is a sailor in the Navy and that he was arrested in Boone County for criminal trespassing in 2007.
Harkness also served in the Marines from 2009-2012 and fought in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for less than two months. He was featured in a 2011 article on KyPost.com before shipping off for Afghanistan. Records don't indicate any Boone County arrests.
Those who know Harkness said the family is devastated by the arrest. A chain was stretched across the driveway on Porter Road Wednesday with a no trespassing sign attached to keep visitors out.
The 22-year-old was was described as "good kid" who has been employed by a company that restores houses.
The Northern Kentucky Drive Strike Force conducted a sweep of the Walton area on May 30, 2012, looking for suspected heroin sellers. Delfin was one of several people arrested.
Littrell said he found the whole situation unsettling.
"You don't know who you're dealing with. It's just dangerous anymore," he said. "You've got good people and you've got bad people and you got people sometimes that go off at the last second and do stuff like that. But, then you've got people that plan stuff," he said.
9 On Your Side will update this story once more details available.