updated 6/21/2006 6:20:54 PM ET 2006-06-21T22:20:54

Authorities investigating the stabbing death of an 83-year-old small-town mayor have arrested his granddaughter and her boyfriend on murder charges, officials said Wednesday.

Nena Bolton, 50, and her boyfriend, Shaunte Smith, 27, were arrested Tuesday night in the death of Mayor Ralph Ward, the Columbia County Sheriff’s office said.

Bolton was recently released from prison after serving a six-year sentence for killing her estranged husband, Larry Bolton, a former county deputy sheriff and city water works manager.

Ward was found stabbed to death in his livingroom recliner on June 15. He had been mayor of McNeil, a southwest Arkansas town of about 650 residents, for 38 years.

After her grandfather’s death, Bolton spoke to The Banner-News of Magnolia about Ward, saying: “It was hard for him to say no to anybody. He was trusting and kindhearted.”

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