Arkansas Crime

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a murder charge in a case involving evidence gathered by an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Television station KHOG reports that the prosecutors' request to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against James Andrew Bates was granted Wednesday.

Bates was charged in the November 2015 death of Victor Collins, whose body was found in a hot tub at Bates' home. Prosecutors say they requested the dismissal because the evidence supports more than one reasonable explanation.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A Chicago federal judge has revoked bond for an Arkansas sports memorabilia collector who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin made the order Monday after prosecutors said John Rogers of North Little Rock, Arkansas, has continued to commit fraud. Federal prosecutors previously said Rogers defrauded investors by offering a phony Heisman Trophy as collateral for a $100,000 loan. Rogers pleaded guilty in March.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Republican leader of the Arkansas Senate says his company is cutting ties with a drug rehabilitation program amid reports that workers provided by the nonprofit were not getting paid. In an interview with KUAR News, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren denied any wrongdoing by his company.

The accusations were detailed by news outlet Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as part of a larger series looking at questionable practices by some rehab programs. On Tuesday a story was published by reporters Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walker saying Hendren’s company in northwest Arkansas relied on the workers who weren’t getting any monetary compensation.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A plea and arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court for former Arkansas sports memorabilia dealer John Rogers. He's facing state charges while awaiting sentencing next month on a federal wire fraud charge.

The new charges stem from the alleged theft by Rogers of three hard drives containing images valued at $364,167. In March he pleaded guilty in federal court after reaching a plea agreement that acknowledged he took part in an effort "to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $10 million" from investors, financial institutions and customers. Prosecutors say Rogers used a variety of schemes that included false pretenses, misrepresentations and lies.

Image via Creative Commons

A criminal record can often prevent people from obtaining employment, secure housing, or qualifying for loans. But a clinic hosted by the Center for Arkansas Legal Services hopes to change that by helping low-income people seal criminal records for minor offenses. The clinic will take place Friday at Shorter College in North Little Rock.

Police say they have arrested the person suspected of firing first during a mass shooting at a Little Rock rap concert last summer.

No one died in the July 1 melee, but 28 people sustained injuries. Little Rock police Capt. Russell King said Wednesday that 19-year-old Tyler Jackson was the first to fire a weapon as Ricky Hampton performed at the Power Ultra Lounge under the name Finese2Tymes.

Jacob Scott Goodwin
Lonoke County Sheriff's Office

Authorities say a third person has been arrested in the beating of a black man at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lt. Matthew Edwards, a spokesman for the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas, said in a phone interview that 22-year-old Jacob Scott Goodwin of Ward, Arkansas, was arrested Tuesday on a warrant from Charlottesville by U.S. marshals near his hometown.

Lt. Steve Upman, a spokesman for police in Charlottesville, says Goodwin is charged with malicious wounding in the Aug. 12 beating.

A federal judge has blocked a new law that seeks to restrict panhandling in Arkansas. The law was the second attempt by the Arkansas Legislature to ban people from asking for money and other help on most sidewalks and intersections.

Despite the law passing with bipartisan support, U.S. District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson said the law proposed by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) is “plainly unconstitutional.” Collins tells KUAR News he authored the law to put an end to threatening conduct by panhandlers.

An Arkansas trial has been delayed for a Tennessee rapper and his bodyguard, who face federal weapons charges.

The scheduled Monday trial of Ricky Hampton, who performs as Finese2Tymes, and bodyguard Kentrell Gwynn, both of Memphis, was postponed on Friday until March 19.

Hampton is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with a shooting outside a nightclub in eastern Arkansas and Gwynn is charged with providing a felon with a firearm and with providing armed security to a felon.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Panelists (left to right) City Manager Bruce Moore, Moderator Rex Nelson, Mayor Mark Stodola and Police Chief Kenton Buckner take part in "Crime in Little Rock... a Dialogue" at the Ron Robinson Theater.
@Little Rock_rr / Twitter

Little Rock city leaders addressed the spike in violent crime this year in the state's capital city at a forum Thursday night, even while acknowledging that talk is cheap.

"If we have nothing to show, meaning action, after we leave the meeting, we’ve wasted everyone’s time," Police Chief Kenton Buckner said during "Crime in Little Rock... a dialogue" presented by the Central Arkansas Library System at the Ron Robinson Auditorium.

"Our city has too many things going on for us to be meeting with nothing to show as a result of that meeting," Buckner said.