Posted on Oct 08, 2015
A man considered a “person of interest” in the deaths of his mother and girlfriend has been officially charged with murder.

32-year-old Travis Bonham was charged Thursday with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of 50-year-old Sandra Stelk and Jaime Barber, 23. Their bodies were found at Stelk’s home on the 18000 block of Coshocton Road just before 9:30 a.m. last week in Mount Vernon.  Both Stelk and Barber died of multiple gunshot wounds.

According to the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office, Bonham confessed to killing his mother and girlfriend with a pistol while high on bath salts.

Bonham is also facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence for destroying a cell phone that he was carrying during the murders.  In addition, he has been charged with stealing a pistol from Stelk's residence and weapons under disability.  Bonham has prior felony domestic violence convictions which prevent him from legally possessing a firearm.

In the wake of the homicides, authorities launched a manhunt and labeled Bonham as a “person of interest” in the case, but fell short of naming his as a suspect.

Bonham is currently behind bars on a different grand theft charge after authorities said video surveillance revealed Bonham was driving Stelk’s 2011 black Dodge Charger the night of the homicides.  The vehicle was recovered last Friday in Reynoldsburg.

The 32-year-old was apprehended in Licking County last weekend on State Route 62 just east of Lafayette Road.  A Mount Vernon police officer followed a vehicle after he noticed the male passenger appeared to have numerous tattoos, pulled up his hood and attempted to avoid him.

Bonham surrendered without incident.

If convicted on all charges, he faces 45 years to life in prison.


Adam Lee Nemann
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Trial and Defense Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law at Capital University, founder of Nemann Law Offices

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