Four sentencing hearings will take place next Thursday, June 29, in relation to the murder of James “Jamey” Stephens. The 31-year-old Rosepine man had initially been reported missing in March of 2014.

Four sentencing hearings will take place next Thursday, June 29, in relation to the murder of James “Jamey” Stephens. The 31-year-old Rosepine man had initially been reported missing in March of 2014.

Stephens' remains were found, in early July of 2014. With assistance from the Polly Klaas Foundation Search Team, and trained cadaver dogs, the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office located human remains, believed to be Stephens, in an area on LA-1211 in Vernon Parish. The road is known as Vernon Street in New Llano and Savage Forks Road thereafter.

The remains were taken, by the Vernon Parish Coroner’s Office, to the FACES (Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services) Laboratory at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, for identification purposes.

Sentencing hearings, at the Vernon Parish Courthouse in Leesville, will be held for Cassandra Ward, 24; Jose Israel Ayala III, 26; Robert Vincent Worth, 24; Matthew David Andrews, 28. All but Andrews, of New Llano, are Leesville residents.

Cassandra Ward, 24, was first booked on second-degree murder in the 2014 case. She pleaded guilty on September 2, 2016 to obstruction-of-justice. At the time of her arrest, Ward was reported to be a relative of Stephen’s girlfriend.

Ward was initially charged with second-degree murder. Her sentencing could hinge on the disposition of murder charges against Ayala.

Ayala pleaded guilty, on April 27, 2017, to one count of manslaughter, one count of obstruction-of-justice in the murder investigation, and one count of aggravated escape.

Vernon Parish Sheriff, Sam Craft, said Ayala, and one other inmate, in September 2014, attempted an escape while jail personnel were administering routine medical assistance in solitary confinement.

"When the jailer opened the door of the cell, he was attacked by the two inmates, who struck the jailer several times," Craft stated in a news release. "Ayala then fled from the cell to the front office of the jail, while the other inmate and the jailer continued to struggle in the cell. Ayala then attacked a second jailer who was in the front office." The guards were able to eventually force the inmates back into their cell.

Ayala was originally booked on second-degree murder charges in the 2014 case. With the amended charges, he could face up to 90 years in prison.

Andrews, like Ward, also pleaded guilty to obstruction-of-justice, in May 2016. He had initially been booked on accessory-after-the-fact to second-degree murder.

The obstruction penalty in a second-degree murder case in Louisiana is up to $100,000 fine and/or up to 40 years in prison. A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence.

Detectives learned that Worth withheld crucial information regarding the homicide of Stephens during a July 2014 interview. Worth was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of obstruction of justice.

Circumstances of Stephens' death, or an alleged motive in the case, have not been released by investigators.