Arkansas Crime

A proposal to abolish Arkansas' death penalty is heading to the state Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option in capital murder cases.

Arkansas has 32 inmates on death row but hasn't executed anyone in nearly a decade due to legal challenges over the state's lethal injection procedures.

Arkansas' Supreme Court says police were wrong to barge into a bank robbery suspect's hotel room after receiving an anonymous tip, but it upheld the man's conviction because other evidence was so overwhelming.

Isaac Evans had wanted the court to reverse his conviction. Justices upheld his life sentence Thursday, saying eyewitness testimony was so strong that a nighttime police raid was a "harmless error."

The court said bank tellers and Evans' brother-in-law linked Evans to the February 2013 robbery at a Simmons Bank branch in Little Rock.

Authorities say pneumonia resulting from mixed drug intoxication killed a man charged in the 2013 traffic death of a Conway police officer.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that Barry Strickland's death certificate says he had a mix of morphine, amphetamine, muscle relaxer, and anti-anxiety medications in his system when he was found dead at his parents' house in November.

A bond hearing is scheduled for an Arkansas pharmacist who has been arrested for allegedly distributing controlled drugs illegally.

U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Thyer says Christopher Watson, a Perry County pharmacist, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of illegal distribution of a controlled substance. A bond hearing is scheduled for Watson Thursday afternoon.

Court records do not indicate Watson has entered a plea to the charge. His attorney, Frank Shaw, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are seeking information about the recent shooting of a bald eagle.

Several other agencies, including the Humane Society of the United States, are offering a reward up to $7,500 for information leading to a conviction of those responsible for the incident.

Authorities say two men who briefly escaped while awaiting booking at the Jefferson County jail are back in custody.

Pine Bluff police arrested 26-year-old Corderro Foster and 24-year-old Justin Cartwright in an alleged armed robbery on Wednesday and took them back to the jail.

Spokesman Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the men knocked down a jailer and bolted out of a door. Law enforcement officials spotted the men several hours later less than a mile away and arrested them.

Boxer Jermain Taylor has pleaded not guilty to accusations he pointed a gun at a man's head and threatened to shoot three small children in Little Rock, Arkansas.

But local media outlets report a judge revoked his bond Tuesday afternoon in a separate case from August involving a firearm and issued a warrant for his arrest. Prosecutors say the boxer's arrest this week is evidence he violated the terms of his release.

Online records of the Pulaski County jail show Taylor hasn't turned himself in yet to authorities.

A member of Little Rock's board of directors has been cited for driving while intoxicated.

A Little Rock Police Department report says 48-year-old Kenneth Richardson was cited for DWI and traffic offenses on Saturday evening after an officer observed his car swerving at a high rate of speed. The officer caught up with Richardson, who changed lanes without signaling.

The report says Richardson then pulled the car into a parking lot and struck a shrub before stopping.

Federal prosecutors say three women have been charged in a plot to steal money from a food program for the poor.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer identified the three as 39-year-old Jacqueline Mills of Helena-West Helena, 37-year-old Tonique Hatton of North Little Rock and 34-year-old Gladys Elise King of England. A 76-count indictment was unsealed Thursday.

Prosecutors said Mills inflated Child and Adult Care Feeding Program numbers in an effort to receive excess federal payments. Thyer said Mills bribed the others in return for protection from government scrutiny.

Arkansas Advocates For Children And Families Executive Director Rich Huddleston.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

One of Arkansas’s leading advocacy groups for children and low-income people is gearing up for next month’s legislative session. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families on Thursday in Little Rock held the last of three pre-legislative conferences hosted throughout the state. Expanding access to pre-K and reforming the juvenile justice system were among a slew of issues in which AACF's staff and guest speakers briefed attendees.