Manuel Daniel Jr. appeared was in Jackson County District Court yesterday for his preliminary hearing in the Melissa Bost murder case. The hearing was to determine whether he would stand trial for first-degree murder.
During the hearing, an Altus Police detective revealed information about their investigation that tied Bost to Daniel. The detective also testified about physical evidence found in Daniel’s house. Part of the evidence presented regarded torn fingernails that were, according to Detective Bill Perkin’s affidavit, collected from Daniel’s vacuum canister. DNA material showed one of the fingernails belonged to Melissa Bost.
On Feb. 28, 2012, Bost’s body was discovered in a vehicle in the alley of the 1000 block of East Sutherland here in Altus. Investigators believed from the start that Bost was killed at another location and her body was transported to where investigators found her. Along with collecting and submitting forensic evidence to the O.S.B.I. lab, investigators conducted many interviews over the next six to eight weeks attempting to find the person responsible for the murder.
Daniel had been interviewed one day after the murder, but denied having any involvement or any knowledge of Melissa’s death. However, he was arrested on other unrelated charges, and has been incarcerated in the Jackson County Jail since.
On March 30, investigators executed a search warrant for a residence at 907 South Baucum in Altus. Forensic evidence was collected and submitted to the O.S.B.I. lab for analysis. Police Chief Tim Murphy said, “We suspect this is where Melissa Bost was murdered.” On May 18, results from the forensic evidence, from the O.S.B.I. lab, confirmed APD’s suspicions.
After Tuesday’s testimony, the judge concluded there was enough evidence for Daniel to be tried for first degree murder. He will be arraigned on Sept. 13.