Four people have been arrested in the Saturday afternoon beating death of a Louisiana man who was recuperating after brain surgery, PEOPLE confirms.
Blaine Manalle, 20, and 21-year-old Cameron Alphonso are accused of second-degree murder in the killing of 46-year-old Jeffery Howell. Both were booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail and are being held in lieu of $250,000 bond.
Also arrested were 22-year-old Alden Kindergran and Thomas Jones, 23, both on suspicion of disturbing the peace in the deadly incident that occurred along the West Pearl River.
Kindergran was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail late Saturday and released Sunday afternoon on $750 bond, authorities said. He could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE and none of the suspects have retained attorneys who could comment on their behalf.
Jones, who was taken into custody on Tuesday, was also booked on an unrelated contempt of court warrant and is being held in lieu of $7,402 bond.
Charges have yet to be filed against the foursome, according to a prosecutor’s spokeswoman.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies responded shortly after 5:30 p.m. Saturday to a brawl that broke out “between two large groups of individuals” on a sand bar along the West Pearl River just south of the Davis Landing Boat Launch in Slidell.
It was during this fight that Howell was fatally injured, according to authorities. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
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The coroner’s office determined on Monday that Howell was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, though it is unclear if one blow was deadly or if it was a sum total was the fatal.
Spokesman James Hartman tells PEOPLE that he had successfully undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor “and was recovering and this happened.”
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Howell was struck on Saturday around the area where his head was cut open for surgery, the spokesman says: “If you cuff your left hand against the back of your head behind your left ear, that was where the incision was.”
The sheriff’s office declined to confirm what led to the fatal incident. However, friends said Howell had apparently objected to other people who were throwing bottles into the water, local TV station WVUE reports.
“From what we heard they were throwing bottles in the river, and they were told to stop throwing bottles,” Howell’s neighbor Kathy Maillet told the station. “This is a hazard.”
Sheriff’s authorities tell PEOPLE they have interviewed more than 40 people in an “exhaustive” investigation that remains ongoing. Additional arrests and charges are possible, Capt. Scott Lee says.
According to WVUE, Howell underwent surgery three weeks ago. Those who knew him remembered a giving man.
“It’s horrible,” said friend Sheila Smith. “There was no call for that kind of action.”