Staff

Multi-Agency Partnership Announces Operation Street Sweeper

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Scott Ellington
Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney
Phone: (870) 932-1513

Multi-Agency Partnership Announces Operation Street Sweeper

BLYTHEVILLE, AR – The Second Judicial District Drug Task Force along with the Blytheville Police Department, the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department, the Osceola Police Department, the Jonesboro Police Department, the Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas National Guard Counter Drug Unit simultaneously executed search warrants at five residences within the City of Blytheville today.  The occupants of the residences were believed to be working as a neighborhood based loosely affiliated criminal organization with ties to drug trafficking and the possession of firearms including assault style rifles. The multi-agency raid was the culmination of a four-month investigation and involved more than fifty area police officers.

The search warrants included the primary residences of some suspected drug dealers and also their “Traps”. The term “Trap” is slang used to identify a residence used solely for the sale of controlled substances. Dealers commonly use the residences to hamper law enforcement investigations and conceal the location where they store larger amounts of drugs, firearms, and money. These “Traps” are also used in an attempt to insulate the dealer from criminal liability in the event law enforcement locates illegal items inside the residence as the dealer often has the residence and its utilities listed under several different names so they can claim they have no dominion or control over items found inside. This makes the investigation of these types of cases more difficult and time consuming for law enforcement.

The multi-county investigation resulted in the arrests of ten individuals and the seizure of nine firearms, along with several quantities of marijuana, crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, crack cocaine and ecstasy.  Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said, “The Second Judicial District Drug Task Force is a multi-agency cooperative effort focused on combating the distribution and possession of illicit controlled substances within Northeast Arkansas. The drug trade often leads to violent crimes. Our mission tonight was to execute arrest warrants obtained during this four-month investigation. Agents also obtained search warrants to seize firearms and drugs in an effort to remove them from the streets of Blytheville. Dozens of officers with Blytheville PD, Osceola PD, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department, Jonesboro PD, Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas National Guard Counter Drug Unit braved sub-freezing weather to carry out this mission. I appreciate their hard work and dedication to make our community safer.  This operation worked only because of the cooperation of our partners Sheriff Dale Cook, Blytheville Chief Ross Thompson, Osceola Chief Ollie Collins, Jonesboro Chief Rick Elliott and Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd; with the assistance of Colonel Bill Bryant of the Arkansas State Police and Major General Mark Berry of the Arkansas National Guard.

Those arrested were Katrina Kuykendall (30), Kenyunta Aldridge (38), Carlos Wells (44), Solomon Malone (24), Winsley Henry III (42), Artrille Coleman (39), Tyree Johnson (19), Africa Wells (44), JP Smith III (36), and Deanna Perry (29).  Each will appear before Blytheville District Judge Shannon Langston on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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West Memphis Man Convicted of Manslaughter and Fleeing Sentenced to 25 Years

Marion, AR – Justin East, 28, of West Memphis was convicted yesterday of Manslaughter and Fleeing. The Crittenden County jury recommended a sentence of 25 years. Circuit Judge Randy Philhours followed the jury’s recommendation and imposed the recommended terms, deciding to run them consecutively. On May 24, 2016 at approximately 10:00 a.m., the defendant got into a fight with Dedrick Meadows, 40, of West Memphis.  After a brief scuffle, East pulled a .32 cal. revolver and shot the victim six times. Four of the bullets entered Meadows’s back as he was trying to run away from the altercation. Meadows was unarmed. East fled the scene at a high rate of speed in a pickup truck as West Memphis Detectives Stacy Allen, Martin Gill and Ira Roundtree gave chase. East threw the weapon out of the vehicle as he was being pursued. East pled self-defense. The trial began on November 7th and ended when the jury returned its verdict and sentence recommendation at Thursday evening, November 9th. The jury which was made up of 7 women and 5 men deliberated four hours. The jury also found East guilty of using a firearm to commit a felony and tampering with evidence.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Young prosecuted the case for the State of Arkansas.  Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said, “I want to thank Deputy Prosecutor Tom Young for his thorough efforts in obtaining justice for the family of Dedrick Meadows. This was a tough case and he devoted many hours preparing for this trial. I also want to thank the officers of the West Memphis Police Department who arrested the defendant and investigated this case. The jury thoughtfully considered the evidence and spent three long days hearing evidence and rendering a just verdict.”

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Mississippi County Jury convicts man who kidnapped disabled veteran, 30 years sentence handed down

Mississippi County Jury convicts man who kidnapped disabled veteran, 30 years sentence handed down

OSCEOLA, AR, December 10, 2016 – On Friday, December 8, 2016, an Osceola District, Mississippi County, jury convicted Terrell Harrell, age 25, of Luxora, Arkansas, for the March 2, 2015 Aggravated Robbery and Kidnapping of Robert Birmingham, age 68, also of Luxora, and a decorated disabled Vietnam veteran.

Ellington credited the great investigative work of Chief Albert Wright of the Luxora Police Department and Sergeant Brice Hicks of the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department for their work as lead investigators. Ellington said Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Catherine P. Dean and Keith Chrestman represented the State.

“It is our job to protect the weak and disabled from those predators who prey on them. This case is more egregious because they knew Mr. Birmingham was a disabled veteran.”

The jury also convicted Harrell of Battery in the Second Degree, Theft of a Firearm and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. Circuit Judge Dan Ritchey sentenced the Defendant to 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Birmingham was asleep in his bed after having suffered a stroke and paralysis of his right arm and leg which had left him wheelchair-bound when Harrell and a co-defendant broke into his home after midnight, bound, gagged, blindfolded, and stabbed Birmingham while attempting to gain entry into a safe. Unable to open the safe, Harrell and his co-defendant dragged and stuffed Birmingham in the back seat of his own truck and held him captive at gunpoint while they drove from Luxora, through Marion and along Interstate 40 for hours. Law Enforcement agencies including the Luxora Police, Mississippi County Sheriff’s, and Little Rock Police Departments, along with the Arkansas State Police, working in concert ultimately located Birmingham in his vehicle, dressed only in his boxer shorts, in Little Rock where he was treated and released from the VA.

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Crittenden County Man Receives Life Sentence for Aggravated Robbery

CRITTENDEN COUNTY MAN RECEIVES LIFE SENTENCE FOR AGGRAVATED ROBBERY

MARION, AR, June 8, 2016- Scott Ellington, Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas announced Thursday that a Crittenden County jury convicted Roosevelt Rashun Coleman of Aggravated Robbery and commission the crime with a firearm. The jury returned the verdict Wednesday evening after a three-day jury trail. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney J. Matthew Coe prosecuted the case for the State of Arkansas.

Circuit Judge Ralph Wilson sentenced Coleman to life in prison in the Arkansas Department of Corrections as a habitual violent offender, having been convicted of residential burglary on two previous occasions.

Ellington said, “Because of the hard work of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney J. Matthew Coe, as well as Detective Freddy Williams and law enforcement with the Marion Police Department, Crittenden County will not have to worry about this violent individual walking the streets of their community.”

Coe said, “I am appreciative of the hard work of Detective Freddy Williams and the Marion Police Department, as well as the help and assistance that they received from the citizens of Crittenden County in bringing Coleman to justice. I applaud the jury’s difficult task in this case as well. Due to everyone’s efforts, this violent criminal has been removed from our community.”

According to the evidence introduced at trial, Coleman entered the Dollar General on the I-55 Service Road in Marion, Arkansas, on September 14, 2015 around 8:30 pm. He held the assistant manager at gun point and pushed her to the store’s cash registers and demanded money. While the assistant manager complied with his demand, he struck her on the head with the butt end of the gun, resulting in a significant injury to the assistant manager which necessitated treatment at a local hospital. After taking cash from the registers, Coleman fled the store on foot.

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Prosecutor’s Response to recent Court of Appeals Ruling

KAIT’s Meredith Miller stopped by the office today to interview me about yesterday’s decision by the Arkansas Court of Appeals in State v. Inskeep. I told her when we charged Nathan Inskeep with Aggravated Residential Burglary, we believed that was the appropriate charge. Judging from all the calls and messages I have received today, I can tell you the public is outraged by the decision handed down yesterday by the Arkansas Court of Appeals. The Appellate Court reduced the count from Aggravated Residential Burglary to Residential Burglary and reduced the jury’s recommended sentence from 40 years to 20 years.

 

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