Four women, believed to be adult entertainers, have reportedly been charged regarding a homicide in Missouri. Investigators learned the women were in southeast Missouri after advertising adult entertainment services online.
Ponesha Taylor, 23, Brittany Curry, 28, Lauteshia Dotson, 23 and Johniesha Simmons, 19, from Nashville and Memphis face charges including first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon connecting to the death of Ralph Cross Aug. 1. The incident happened in Cross' Missouri home, Fox 13 reported Friday.
Witnesses told police they saw Cross with four women the night of July 31.
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Cross, 55, reportedly purchased a new tire for the women and allowed them to stay in his house while he fixed their flat tire. The women remained in Cross's house until officials discovered his body there Tuesday morning. The Mississippi County Sheriff's office said the four women were seen last at the victim's home, Fox 13 reported.
Police spotted 9mm shell casings at the crime scene. Acting Mississippi County Sheriff Branden Caid said the women might have shot Cross with a 9mm handgun, CBS-affiliate KFVS 12 reported. He died of a gunshot wound to his back.
According to court documents, a witness saw Cross in his house around 6:30 a.m. the day of his death. A witness said when he exited Cross's home, Cross had been arguing with three of the women, while the fourth woman sat in a white car parked outside the house.
The witness said that when he approached Cross's home, he heard a noise and noticed three women leaving Cross's home and entering a white car. The witness claimed he overheard one of the women who were in the car say that Cross was "tripping and do not go back down there" KFVS 12 reported.
Caid said that robbery may have motivated the crime and that the women killed Cross after stealing from him. Witnesses stated they saw Cross with a large amount of money which investigators never recovered. Investigators noted disheveled couch cushions and that Cross's pants pockets were inside out. There was other evidence that suggested the women stole Cross's possessions.
Relatives and friends of the women saw media coverage of the investigation, including surveillance images and notified law enforcement. They convinced the women to go to the police and tell their side of the story. They turned themselves in at the Mississippi County Sheriff's Office Aug. 3.
Court documents showed all the women admitted to being at Cross's home the day he died, but none admitted to killing Cross, or identified how they were involved. A captain with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department interviewed two Memphis women regarding the homicide. During separate interviews, the witnesses told the investigator Curry shot and killed Cross inside his house. The witnesses also stated that Taylor saw it happen.
Simmons, Curry, Dotson and Taylor are all held in different facilities without bond while Cross's community mourns his loss. Neighbors all knew Cross, who was famous for the way he treated the youth. He would help kids by buying school supplies and spotting them money for snacks, one young resident told KFVS-12.
Violence doesn't usually occur in the neighborhood, according to the residents, who will miss Cross's presence.
"Ralph was a cool person, he'd give you money if you didn't have it. It touches my heart in many ways, you know, but I gotta stay strong, he said.