Archive for the ‘AR’ Category

September 28, 2007

Crawford County, Arkansas

From the Fort Smith Times Record of September 28, 2007

Prosecutor Won’t File In Killing

No charges will be filed in the July 27 shooting death of a 25-year-old Fort Smith woman, according to Crawford County Prosecutor Marc McCune.

McCune said Thursday an investigation by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office turned up no evidence to refute a claim of self-defense by Edna Higgins, 69, of Mountainburg.

Higgins said she shot Heather Dyanne Mizell with a .22-caliber rifle as Mizell threatened her with a hammer in the Mountainburg woman’s residence.

According to investigators, Mizell, who was married to but separated from Higgins’ grandson, Jimmie Mizell, was at Higgins’ house to pick up money Higgins had promised to give her to replace a tire on her vehicle.

Mizell had earlier dropped off her two daughters, Katie, 4, and Megan, 1, with her estranged husband’s parents.

Crawford County Chief Deputy Ron Brown said Higgins told him after she gave Mizell the check, she turned around and Mizell was brandishing a hammer.

Higgins grabbed the rifle and fired twice, Brown reported. Mizell was struck once in the chest. A second shot apparently grazed her.

The shooting victim was taken to St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, where she died during surgery.

Mizell’s mother, Becky Sides of Fort Smith, reacted angrily to news of McCune’s decision.

“This case is not going to close,” she said. “I know it was murder and everyone else knows it was murder. If (McCune) can’t see that, I don’t know what his problem is.”

Sides said she has been told that Mizell’s fingerprints were not found on the hammer. “Without that hammer, it’s murder,” she said.

Sides said her pleas for convening a grand jury, or having a second, independent investigation of the shooting, have so far been unsuccessful.

“When you have a major medical problem, you are entitled to a second opinion. This involves a death, and we don’t get a second opinion,” she said.

She said she continues to contact “civil rights people” and organizations she hopes can help her in her quest for justice.

Sides has assembled a Web site,, dedicated to her daughter’s memory and family. On it, she reports that Heather, a university student and rack driver for the Times Record, “had so many plans of what she was going to do. Her life was just starting to go the way she was wanting it to go.”

Heather’s husband, Jimmie, died Aug. 11. This week, custody of their daughters was awarded to Heather Mizell’s father, Ed Sanders, who lives in Texas.

“At least something has gone right,” Sides says of the children’s custody. “At least one judge had the common sense to do the right thing.”


September 7, 2007

Greers Ferry, Arkansas

From Little Rock’s of September 6, 2007

Store-owner Fires Shots in Greers Ferry Store

A grocery store owner shoots a man during an argument over forged checks.

It happened Thursday afternoon at the Family Market in Greers Ferry. That’s in Cleburne County.

The shooting happened around 1:00 Thursday afternoon and people in the small town of Greers Ferry knew about it by 2:00 pm.

And what some people thought was a robbery was just a discussion gone wrong.

The Cleburne County Sheriff says a 25 year old man entered the Family Market to speak to the owner, Robert Knighten.

The two men were in the office discussing some stolen and forged checks that were cashed at the store.

One thing led to another and an exchange of words turned into an exchange of fists when the owner grabbed a pistol and shot the other man two times.

He was later air-evaced to a Little Rock hospital for surgery.

“This is not a common occurrence in Cleburne County especially in Greers Ferry. This is a wonderful place with wonderful people up here and it’s kind of a shock to people here for something like this to happen,” explains Sheriff Marty Moss.

The Sheriff says no one else was injured in the incident even though there were at least half a dozen people inside the store.

The shooting did force the Sheriff’s Department to lock down the nearby school as a precaution.

August 24, 2007

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

From the Pine Bluff Commercial of August 24, 2007


A teen-ager was shot while allegedly trying to break into a home in the Dollarway area Thursday night, police said.

The boy, about 14 or 15 years old, allegedly tried to kick in a door of a residence near the intersection of School and Malcomb streets. He was almost inside when the homeowner shot him, said Sgt. Greg Holland, assistant public relations officer with the Pine Bluff Police Department.

The juvenile reportedly was shot in his lower body and was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center. His condition was not known at the time, Holland said.

An investigation is continuing, he said.

From Little Rock’s of September 19, 2007

No Charges Filed in Pine Bluff Home Invasion Shooting

A homeowner who fatally shot a Pine Bluff teenager during a botched home invasion won’t face criminal charges.

Authorities say Jimmy Shaw shot and killed 14-year-old Winston Walls Junior after the teen broke into Shaw’s home on August 23rd.

Prosecutor Steve Dalrymple has ruled the shooting was justified.

Dalrymple wrote in a memo to Pine Bluff Police Chief John Howell that the law allows deadly force as an appropriate means of self-defense. The memo says Shaw’s actions were tragic but unavoidable.

Authorities say the teenager had a handgun when he broke into Shaw’s home along with two other teens.

August 19, 2007

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

From the August 18, 2007 Pine Bluff Commercial:

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The owner of a Pine Bluff pawn shop shot dead a teenager he suspected to be a burglar, police said.

Taron Hopkins, 15, was pronounced dead at the scene early Friday morning, said Chad Kelley, chief deputy coroner. Hopkins suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body.

Police Lt. Bob Rawlinson said the shooting happened at Chuck Smith’s Pawn Shop in Pine Bluff. The store’s owner, Chuck Smith, told police he shot the teenager with a .38-caliber revolver as the teen and others tried to break into the store.

Smith was in a small living area at the back of the business when he heard people breaking in, Rawlinson said. Smith told police he fired several shots toward the group.

Several of the people fled, and a tire iron was left behind, Rawlinson said.

“We’re going to gather the facts and then present them to the prosecuting attorney to determine whether the shooting was justified or if charges are warranted in this case,” Rawlinson said.

From the Pine Bluff Commercial of September 13, 2007


Jefferson County’s prosecutor ruled Wednesday that the death of a 15-year-old boy who was shot by the owner of a Pine Bluff pawn shop was “justified under the law.”

Taron Hopkins was shot by Chuck Smith, the owner of Chuck Smith Pawn Shop at 3621 W. Sixth Ave., on Aug. 16 after Hopkins and two other juveniles tried to break into the business at approximately 11:30 p.m.

In a memo to Police Chief John Howell, 11th Judicial District West Prosecuting Attorney Steve Dalrymple said, “The physical evidence of the event was corroborated by the statements of the two youths that accompanied Taron Hopkins in the burglary of the building. Additionally, their two statements support the account of Chuck Smith.”

Smith told police he heard a noise at the back door of the building and, when he opened the back door, saw several individuals standing in front of him, including one holding what appeared to be a tire iron.

“The law is very clear on the use of deadly force,” Dalrymple said in the memo to Howell. “The use of a firearm by Smith was justifiable when faced by an intruder armed with a potential weapon, a tire iron.”

Hopkins was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:15 a.m. of an apparent gunshot wound to the upper body.

“The results are both tragic and deadly,” Dalrymple said. “Also clearly upsetting is the fact that three young teenagers were out and about in the late hours. Taron Hopkins was 15 years of age. It does not require a keen insight to recognize that such an act is an invitation to trouble.

“Both the evidence of the burglary and the statements of the accomplices of the deceased demonstrate that these actions were far beyond a mischievous act of a youth but rather were a planned criminal act,” Dalrymple said, adding that Smith’s actions “are not the subject of criminal prosecution.”

Wednesday afternoon, Dalrymple said he has received the complete case file in the death of Winston Walls Jr., 14, who reportedly kicked in the back door of a house in the Dollarway area on Aug. 23, and was shot by the homeowner, Jimmy Shaw, who had a handgun.

Dalrymple said he is reviewing that file before making a decision on whether the shooting was justified under state law.

August 11, 2007

Russellville, Arkansas

From the Russellville Courier of August 11, 2007

Wal-Mart shooting justified, Gibbons says

Battery charges expected against shooter’s alleged assailant

Fifth Judicial Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons has declined to prosecute a man who shot an acquaintance in the leg July 18 in the Wal-Mart parking lot on East Main Street.

William Garfield Farr, 50, was arrested later that night in connection with the shooting after he fled the scene without notifying authorities of the incident, a circumstance Gibbons called “troubling” in a memo sent Wednesday to Russellville Police Department Det. Mark Frost, which was provided to The Courier.

A witness recorded Farr’s license plate number as he drove away, according to a July 20 article by Scott Perkins and Janie Ginocchio.

In a July 20 bond hearing held at the Pope County Detention Center, District Judge Don Bourne ordered Farr held on a $25,000 commercial bond. At that time, the alleged victim, Ben Lopez, was in stable condition at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, according to testimony by Frost.

Gibbons cited Arkansas Criminal Act 5-2-607 in the memo, which provides that “a person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if he reasonably believes that the other person is: (1) Committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence; (2) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; [or] (3) Imminently endangering his or her life.”

In the memo, Gibbons wrote despite Farr’s failure to call police and fleeing, “from the evidence, it is clear that Lopez was the initial aggressor and entered Farr’s vehicle while possessing a knife. Farr retreated to the passenger side of his vehicle, a point beyond which he could go no further with complete safety.”

“Although disputed by Lopez,” Gibbons continued, “the credible evidence is that Lopez struck at Farr with the knife injuring Farr’s lip. At that point, Farr shot Lopez in the leg with a handgun which he was authorized to carry under Arkansas Law.”

Frost testified July 20 officers found a knife at the scene. During that hearing, Farr appeared to have a small cut on his upper lip consistent with a superficial knife wound.

Gibbons wrote he anticipates filing battery charges against Lopez in connection with the incident.

It remains unclear how the two came to meet in the parking lot, as well as what caused the encounter to turn violent.

August 7, 2007

Ozark, Arkansas

From the Fort Smith Times Record of August 7, 2007

Murder Charge Dropped

A 2006 first-degree murder charge against a former Ozark woman has been dropped, according to Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons.

An order dismissing charges against Audrea Waldo, 24, was signed July 26 by Circuit Court Judge James Kennedy.

Waldo was accused of shooting her father, Joel Waldo, 48, on Jan. 2, 2006, at the family’s home at 504 W. Main St. in Ozark.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case said Waldo shot at her father eight times with a .45-caliber pistol. Waldo told police she was threatened by her father and feared he would do something to her and her grandmother. Gibbons said autopsy results show the shooting victim had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system, giving credence to Audrea Waldo’s claims and justifying her use of deadly force.

According to the Ozark Spectator, Waldo now lives in Texas.

July 27, 2007

El Dorado, Arkansas

From the Pine Bluff Commercial of July 27, 2007

Police: El Dorado man, 93, shoots robber after beating

An elderly man beaten unconscious by an assailant wielding a soda can later awoke and shot the man during an attempted robbery, police said.

Willie Lee Hill, 93, told police he saw the robber while in his bedroom Wednesday night. Hill confronted Douglas B. Williams Jr., 24, of El Dorado, who struck the elderly man at least 50 times, kknocking him out, police said.

Hill, covered in blood from the attack, regained consciousness and pulled a .38-caliber handgun on Williams. Williams saw the gun and charged Hill, who fired one round, police said. The bullet struck Williams in the throat.

When police arrived, officers said Williams told them, “I can’t feel my legs and I got what I deserved.”

Paramedics took Hill and Williams to the Medical Center of South Arkansas for treatment. Doctors later sent Williams to the Louisiana State University Medical Center at Shreveport, where he was listed in critical condition Friday.

Employees at the Medical Center of South Arkansas refused to give Hill’s condition or say if he’d been discharged from the hospital Friday, citing medical privacy laws.

Officers reported finding a set of keys, two hearing aids, a CD player, an MP3 player, a Craftsman drill bit set and three pocket knives inside Williams’ pockets. Police plan to charge Williams with residential burglary, second-degree battery, theft of property and theft by receiving.

July 5, 2007

Little Rock, Arkansas

From Memphis’ of July 5, 2007

Police: Suspect dead in home invasion, shot by victim

Little Rock police are investigating a home invasion in which 1 of the suspects was shot dead by 1 of the victims. Police say the incident began early this morning when someone banged on the apartment door of 27-year-old Julian Armstrong and demanded to see someone named “Steve.”

Armstrong told the person he had the wrong apartment. A while later, the man returned with a second person. Armstrong told police the men kicked in his door and that he exchanged gunfire with the second suspect.

Police say Armstrong sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen and that the suspect was shot dead. Police say Armstrong’s injury isn’t life-threatening. No name has been released for the dead suspect, and police said they have not been able to find the other assailant.

Police say the shooting at southwest Little Rock apartment occurred at 2:20 a.m.

June 13, 2007

Crawford County, Arkansas

From Ft. Smith’s of June 12, 2007

Crawford County Man Shot, Killed

Officials said a Crawford County man was shot and killed Monday night in front of his wife and children.

Bobby Joe Freeman, 32, was killed at his home off Cartwright Mountain Road, police said.

Freeman’s family told police he became aggressive, so they hid in a bedroom. When Freeman barged into the room, investigators said, Freeman’s stepfather shot him.

Sheriff’s officials said it appears the shooting was in self-defense.

From Ft. Smith’s of June 12, 2007

Fatal shooting could be self-defense

A Texas man was killed Monday night in a shooting that investigators believe could have been self-defense.

Crawford County sheriff’s deputies were called to 17800 Cartwright Mountain Road near Chester around 9:30, where they found found 30-year-old Bobby Jo Freeman unresponsive with a single gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A few weeks ago Freeman, his wife, and their two children had moved to the residence, which belongs to Freeman’s mother and stepfather, from Vernon, Texas.

They were all present at the time of the shooting, but police won’t say which family member shot Freeman.

Deputies say they have been called to the residence before a number of times for domestic violence reports, and that could have played a factor in Monday night’s shooting.

From interviews, they know Freeman crashed his pickup earlier that night, and had to be given a ride to the house from someone in a white Extended Cab or four-door pickup.

Now deputies are asking that person to come forward, so they can find out more about what state Freeman was in when he got home.

May 21, 2007

Marion, Arkansas

From May 21, 2007 (although no date appears on the page itself) WREG-TV Memphis:

Marion, AR – A would-be robber is recovering in the med after being shot by the store clerk he was trying to rob. It happened this afternoon at the marion discount pharmacy in marion arkansas. Tonight.. Locals are calling the shooter a hero.

It’s well-known around town that marion discount pharmacy had been robbed three times before. Locals are fed up. And when they heard how an attempted robbery got foiled.. Some.. Called the shooter a hero.

“There was a guy laying in front of the door,” says Nicky Glover a bystander who hadn’t seen anything like this happen in Marion before.

Marion Discount Pharmacy had just been robbed two weeks ago. But this latest attempt sent the would-be robber to the hospital. The shooter? A female pharmacist who was tired of being scared.

“I think she probably solved a lot of problems here in Marion,” says a friend who came to give support when they heard pharmacist Susan Burns shot a robber in her store. “We’re all tired up and down this mall of robbers, thieves. She’s my hometown hero.”

Police say around 3pm, the suspect, 26-year-old Jeremy Johnson, walked in with a gun. Police say Johnson then told a pharmacist behind the counter to get down on the ground, and ordered another to get him drugs.

Det. Sgt. G.B. Martin with the Marion Police Department says “There were other customers in the pharmacy. He advised one of the witnesses in there to sit down turn around get out of the way.”

Included among the customers was a girl about ten years old. Police do not think she witnessed any of the violence. Somehow, Burns pulled a gun from behind the counter and fired. Police say the last time a robber came in, that robber had stuck a gun to her head. This robber didn’t get far.

Witness Glover says “Yeah she was very shaken up, there was policemen surrounding her and comforting her yeah she was very shook up.”

Police say Johnson already had a warrant out for his arrest stemming from another robbery in Tennessee. They do not believe he is connected to the earlier robberies at the Marion Discount Pharmacy.